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Taxon  Report  
Carduus nutans  L.
Musk thistle,   Nodding plumeless thistle
Carduus nutans is a perennial herb that is not native to California.
Cal-IPC rating: moderate
Siskiyou Del Norte Modoc Humboldt Shasta Lassen Trinity Plumas Tehama Butte Mendocino Glenn Sierra Yuba Lake Nevada Colusa Placer Sutter El Dorado Yolo Alpine Napa Sonoma Sacramento Mono Amador Solano Calaveras Tuolumne San Joaquin Marin Contra Costa Alameda Santa Cruz Mariposa Madera San Francisco San Mateo Merced Fresno Stanislaus Santa Clara Inyo San Benito Tulare Kings Monterey San Bernardino San Luis Obispo Kern Santa Barbara Ventura Los Angeles Riverside Orange San Diego Imperial
Observation Search
~2563 records in California
redone or more occurrences
within a 7.5-minute quadrangle

Bloom Period
Genus: Carduus
Family: Asteraceae  
Category: angiosperm  
PLANTS group:Dicot
Jepson eFlora section: eudicot

Arid West: Occurs usually in non wetlands, occasionally in wetlands
Mountains, Valleys and Coast: Occurs in non wetlands

Habitat: disturbed

Communities: weed, characteristic of disturbed places

Name Status:
Accepted by JEF + PLANTS

Alternate Names:
PLANTSCarduus macrocephalus
PLANTSCarduus macrolepis
PLANTSCarduus nutans ssp. leiophyllus
PLANTSCarduus nutans ssp. macrocephalus
PLANTSCarduus nutans ssp. macrolepis
Information about  Carduus nutans from other sources

[USDA FEIS] Origins and Introduction: Musk thistle is native to western and central Europe, northwards to Scotland and extending to Sicilia, central Yugoslavia, and Ukraine, western Siberia, Asia Minor, and North Africa. It has since been introduced to North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Worldwide distribution of musk thistle is limited to the temperate zones of the northern and southern hemispheres, although occasional sightings in the tropics at high elevation have been reported. The earliest records of musk thistle in North America are from central Pennsylvania in 1852, followed by several records of its occurrence along the east coast in the late 1800s, apparently associated with ship ballast. Musk thistle began to appear in the Midwest around the turn of the 20th century. By the early 1940s, musk thistle was regarded as a potential problem in North America. In 1976, Dunn reported the presence of musk thistle in at least 1 out of every 10 counties in the U.S. As of 1999, musk thistle was reported to occur in 45 states in the U.S. and all of the southern Canadian provinces. (contributed by Jessica Johnston)

Suggested Citation
Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation, with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals. [web application]. 2024. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: https://www.calflora.org/   (Accessed: 04/22/2024).