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Taxon  Report  
Centaurea calcitrapa  L.
Purple star thistle,   Red star thistle
Centaurea calcitrapa is an annual or perennial herb that is not native to California.
Cal-IPC rating: moderate
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Observation Search
~4562 records in California
redone or more occurrences
within a 7.5-minute quadrangle

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

Habitat: disturbed

Communities: weed, characteristic of disturbed places

Name Status:
Accepted by JEF + PLANTS

Information about  Centaurea calcitrapa from other sources

Centaurea: from the Latin and a reference to the Centaur Chiron who was supposed to have discovered the medicinal uses of a plant in Greece that came to be called Centaury (contributed by Cynthia Powell)

calcitrapa: from the Latin calcitro, "to kick," caltrop, a four-pointed weapon usually positioned on the ground to impede enemy movements (contributed by Cynthia Powell)

[Cal-IPC] Invasive: Centaurea calcitrapa (purple starthistle) grows as an annual, biennial or perennial (family Asteraceae) in fields, roadsides, disturbed open sites, grasslands, overgrazed rangelands, and logged areas in the northern and central coast ranges of California. Centaurea species may produce allelopathic effects and are highly competitive with other plants, often displacing desired vegetation. Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate (contributed by Mary Ann Machi)

[Wikipedia] Europe native, Noxious weed: Centaurea calcitrapa is a species of flowering plant known by several common names, including red star-thistle[1] and purple star thistle. It is native to Europe but is rarely found there, it is known across the globe as an introduced species and often a noxious weed.[2][3] The species name calcitrapa comes from the word caltrop, a type of weapon covered in sharp spikes. (contributed by Mary Ann Machi)

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: 05/20/2024).