Plant Image
Willow Dells Tr - Sue Smith

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Cirsium neomexicanum - New Mexico thistle

Synonyms: Cardus inamoenus, Cirsium arcuum, Cirsium utahense, Cirsium wallowense, Cirsium neomexicanum
Other Common Names: Utah thistle, lavender thistle
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Asteraceae

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Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Flower bud
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Plant - summer
Aspen Creek Tr
Sue Smith
Young plant - spring
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Biennial or perennial
General Desc: Erect tall biennial or perennial; basal leaf rosette first year; leaf bases extend down stems as spiny wings; flower heads squashed-ball shaped, erect, white to lavender or pink, with reflexed, spine-tipped outer bracts.
Identification notes: Stems stout, branching above the middle, hairy with tangled, woolly hairs. Basal leaves sessile or with winged stems, leaves reduced up the stem. Flower heads purple, pink or white, outer flower bracts reflexed (bent downward), stems without spiny wings.
Height: 1 to 7 feet


Habitat Description: Dry slopes, plains, mesas, roadsides, canyons.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 1000 - 6500 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: White to pink to purple     Shape: Daisy or dandelion-like not in clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Mar - Jul
Description: Flower head is 2 to 3 inches wide, disk shaped, of thin tubular disk flowers on a spherical green base of spiny bracts; outer bracts point downwards.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Dark green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Triangular     Leaf Margin: Lobed     Leaf Attachment: Basal and alternate     Leaves Clasp: Y
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: Y
Leaf Description: Oblong leaves, 2-1/2 to 14 inches long, coarsely lobed with each lobe ending in a sharp spine; upper leaves are much smaller, clasping. Leaf surfaces hairy with tangled, woolly hairs.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Dark brown   
Fruit Type: Achene
Fruit Notes: Achenes topped with bristles.
Seed Notes: Seeds a favorite of goldfinches.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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