Plant Image
Flower head
Willow Dells Tr - Sue Smith

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Cirsium ochrocentrum - yellow-spine thistle

Synonyms: Cnicus ochrocentrus
Other Common Names: cardo, yellowspine thistle
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Asteraceae

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Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Underside of leaves
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Plant - summer
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Willow Dells Tr
Sue Smith
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Biennial or perennial
General Desc: Erect or ascending stems arise from long persistent basal leaves, densely hairy, branches 0 or few. Leaves sessile, densely hairy white underneath, cleft into 2 to 5 spine-tipped divisions; spines long, one of the longest in Arizona. Dead stalks persist.
Identification notes: Flower heads of disc flowers only, located at branch tips, purple, pink red or white, 1 to 3, up to 2 inches across; flower bracts not hairy, outer ones taper to a yellow spine, inner ones dilated and twisted; stems without spiny wings;
Height: 1 to 3 feet


Habitat Description: Pinon pine/juniper woods, roadsides, rangelands, disturbed areas, woodland clearings.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 4500 - 8000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Pink or red or yellowish-white     Shape: Daisy or dandelion-like not in clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: May - Oct
Description: Flower heads are made of many disc flowers sitting on a spherical green base of very spiny bracts; spines mostly point upward.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Grayish-green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Narrow     Leaf Margin: Dissected     Leaf Attachment: Basal and alternate     Leaves Clasp: Y
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: Y
Leaf Description: Leaves are 4 to 12 inches long, narrowly elliptical, covered with matted white hairs. Each lobe ends in a long yellow spine. The bases of the stem leaves form wings.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Light brown   
Fruit Type: Achene
Fruit Notes: Topped with white or tawny bristles.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 7.0  
Last Updated: May 10, 2017  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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