bighead knapweed USDA PLANTS Symbol: CEMA9
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Forbs/Herbs
Centaurea macrocephala Puschk. ex Willd.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Asterales: Asteraceae
Synonym(s): big yellow centaurea, big-headed knapweed
Native Range: Caucasus (BAIL);

Centaurea macrocephala is a large, perennial herb that grows on sturdy root stock and can reach 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall. Various common names including Lemon Fluff, Globe Centaury and Pineapple Thistle.
Broadly lance-shaped leaves with sharp, pointed tips are rough to the touch and up to 15 in. (38.1 cm) long at the base of the plant.
Single, showy, bright yellow flower head at tops of stems. Bracts (found under the flower head) are golden brown and fringed. Flowering occurs from July to September.
Reproduces by seed which can be spread by wind, passing animals, humans, vehicles or equipment. It can re-sprout from woody root crown.
Ecological Threat
Centaurea macrocephala will out-compete grasses and other forage species, reducing food sources for wildlife and livestock. It is very difficult to remove once established. It is native to Turkey.

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit

State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

Invasive Listing Sources:
Faith Campbell, 1998
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998