musk thistle USDA PLANTS Symbol: CANU4
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Forbs/Herbs
Carduus nutans L.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Asterales: Asteraceae
Synonym(s): nodding plumeless thistle, nodding thistle, bristle thistle
Native Range: temp. Asia & Europe (GRIN);

Musk thistle is an herbaceous, biennial plant that grows to 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall. It has become a serious invader of open lands throughout the continental United States. It can be recognized by its showy, red-purple flowers and very spiny stem and leaves. Flowering occurs from June to September. The large, disk-shaped, terminal flower heads droop when mature. Musk thistle invades a variety of disturbed areas. Pastures are particularly at risk because musk thistle is unpalatable to livestock. Once established it can spread rapidly due to high seed production (as much as 120,000 seed per plant). Musk thistle is native to Western Europe and was accidentally introduced into the United States in the early 1900s.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Flower(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; basal rosette
Loke T. Kok, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s); Ready to set seed.
Wendy VanDyk Evans, , Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Ricky Layson, Ricky Layson Photography, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Ricky Layson, Ricky Layson Photography, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Stem(s); upper stem
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Stem and foliage
Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, , Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); lower stem
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Vince Belleci, , Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Vince Belleci, , Bugwood.org
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Infestation; A pile of fill dirt left over winter. The following spring, the pile was covered in musk thistles.
Kris Johnson, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Norman E. Rees, USDA Agricultural Research Service - Retired, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 554.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

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 www.eddmaps.org
 


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

U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)
Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina)
Catoctin Mountain Park (Maryland)
Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)
Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado)
Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina & Tennessee)
Monocacy National Battlefield Park (Maryland)
Rocky Mountains National Park (Colorado)
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (Wisconsin)
Stones River National Battlefield (Tennessee)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)



Invasive Listing Sources:
Alabama Invasive Plant Council
California Invasive Plant Council
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 1994.
Faith Campbell, 1998
Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Missouri Department of Conservation,
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry, 2004
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2009