Carduus acanthoides L. - Plumeless Thistle, Spiny Plumeless Thistle

Systematic position.

Family Asteraceae, genus Carduus L.


Carduus fortior Kiok.

Biological group.

Biennial-perennial weed.

Morphology and biology.

The plant is to 60-70 cm in height, light green, rigid-long-spiny. Root fusiform. Stalk rounded, furrowed, winged up to the top from decurrent leaves; simple or ramified at the top, sparsely pubescent with long articulated hairs. Leaves coriaceous, glabrous or slightly pubescent along ribs from below only, elongate-lanceolate, 15-20 cm in length, pinnatipartite; each lobe 3-5-lobate, spiny-ciliated along margin; each lobule terminates in a long yellowish prickle at tip. Lower leaves narrowed in petiole; the others sessile, decurrent. Flower peduncle short, narrow-winged, prickly, with single calathidium. Calathidia nearly spherical, 1.5-2 cm in diameter. Involucre almost glabrous, slightly shorter than flowers. Leaflets of the involucre widened downward, extended upward in a short prickle. Corolla purple, occasionally white. Marginal flowers with bent corolla tube. Hemicarps small, 3-3.5 mm in length, 1 mm in width, slightly flattened with thin grooves, grayish-olive. Pappus bristles having no indentation. Blossoms from July until August.


Middle and Atlantic Europe, the Mediterranean, the Balkan, Asia Minor. In the territory of the former USSR it is distributed in middle and southern European part, in the Caucasus and northern part of Central Asia.


The plant meets in garbage places near habitation, at roads, and sometimes in crop fields.

Economic value.

The weed meets in fields with grasses, vegetables, grain and oil-bearing crops, in gardens and vineyards. Control measures are autumn plowing, stubbling; herbicide treatments, if necessary.

Reference citations:

Bobrov, E.G. & Cherepanov, S.K., eds. 1963. Flora of the USSR. V. 28. Leningrad - Moscow: AN SSSR. 656 p. (in Russian).
Shishkin, B.K., ed. 1965. Flora of the Leningrad Region. V. 4. Leningrad: LGU. 356 p. (in Russian).
Vasilchenko, I.T. & Pidotti, O.A. 1975. Keys to weed plants of areas of irrigated agriculture. Leningrad: Kolos. 375 p. (in Russian).

© Nadtochii I.N.

The image of Carduus acanthoides is taken from the book of Shishkin, B.K., ed. (1963). "Botanical Atlas" (Moscow - Leningrad, Izdat. Agric. Literature, 504 p.). There is no copyright to either the whole book or the pictures themselves.

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