Yellow Starthistle

Centaurea solstitialis

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Gray-green to blue-green plant with a deep, vigorous taproot. It produces bright, thistle-like yellow flowers with sharp spines surrounding the base. Yellow Grows to heights varying from 6 in. to 5 ft., stems of mature plants are rigid, spreading, and typically branching from the base in open areas. Stems and leaves are covered with a loose, cottony wool that gives them a whitish appearance. Leaves are short (0.5 to 1 in. long) and narrow with few lobes.


Often occurs along roadsides, in disturbed sites, grasslands, open areas, rangeland, wildlands, hay fields, pastures.

Location in Nebraska

Found in only a couple of counties of Southeast Nebraska.

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Native to Eurasia. Seeds are often spread by vehicles or with the transportation of livestock or contaminated soil.


Forms dense infestations and rapidly depletes soil moisture, thus preventing the establishment of other species. It is also poisonous to horses, causing a nervous disorder called “chewing disease.”