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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Canada Thistle
Species Profiles

Canada Thistle

Canada ThistleScientific name: Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop (ITIS)

Common names: Canada thistle, Californian thistle, Canadian thistle, creeping thistle, field thistle, corn thistle, perennial thistle, field thistle

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Selected Resources

Native To: Europe (Nuzzo 1997)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 1600s (Nuzzo 1997)

Means of Introduction: Possibly accidental through farm seed shipments

Impacts: Crowds out native species (Stachion and Zimdahl 1980); reduces crop and forage yields (Malicki and Berbeciowa 1986)

Current U.S. Distribution:



Selected Resources:

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Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands - Cirsium arvense
California Invasive Plant Council.
Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, and M.C. Hoshovsky (Editors). 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA.

Invasive Plants of Ohio: Fact Sheet 14 - Canada Thistle (PDF | 214 KB)
Ohio Invasive Plants Council.
Included as one of the worst invasive plant species in Ohio's natural areas; for others see Invasive Plants of Ohio.

Fact Sheet: Canada Thistle (Jan 2014; PDF | 481 KB)
Alberta Invasive Plants Council (Canada).


Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. - Fact Sheet: Cirsium arvense
USDA. APHIS. PPQ. Center for Plant Health Science and Technology; California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Alaska Exotic Plants Information Clearinghouse (AKEPIC): Species Biography - Canada Thistle (Feb 7, 2011; PDF | 142 KB)
University of Alaska - Anchorage. Alaska Center for Conservation Science.
See also: Non-Native Plant Species List for additional factsheets (species biographies) and species risk assessment reports of non-native species present in Alaska and also non-native species currently not recorded in Alaska (potential invasives).

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) - Canada thistle
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Canada Thistle
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Species Compendium - Cirsium arvense
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Cirsium arvense (herb)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) - Cirsium arvense
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Cirsium arvense
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Canada Thistle
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

Weeds in Australia - Perennial Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Australian Government. Department of the Environment.


Encycloweedia: Data Sheet - Cirsium genus
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Included on California's noxious weed list; see Encycloweedia: Program Details for additional resources.

Noxious Weed Species - Canada Thistle
Colorado Department of Agriculture. Conservation Services Division. Noxious Weed Program.

Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania: Canada Thistle (PDF | 576 KB)
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Class C Noxious Weed: Canada Thistle
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.

Canada Thistle
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Canada Thistle
Colorado State University. Cooperative Extension.

Canada Thistle - Noxious Weeds of Nebraska (May 2009; PDF | 941 KB)
University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Cooperative Extension.

Ohio Perennial & Biennial Weed Guide - Canada Thistle
Ohio State University. Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.


Noxious Weed Information - Canada Thistle (B List)
Colorado Weed Management Association.

Weed Identification - Canada Thistle
Montana Weed Control Association.

BioBullies - Canada Thistle
Natural Biodiversity (Western Pennsylvania).

Canada Thistle
Plant Conservation Alliance. Alien Plant Working Group.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System.Cirsium arvense. [Accessed Mar 14, 2015].

Malicki, L. and C. Berbeciowa. 1986. Uptake of more important mineral components by common field weeds on loess soil. Acta Agrobotanica 39:129-142.

Nuzzo, V. 1997. Element Stewardship Abstract for Cirsium arvense (PDF | 131 KB). Arlington, Va.: Nature Conservancy.

Stachion, W.J. and R.L. Zimdahl. 1980. Allelopathic activity of Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) in Colorado. Weed Science 28:83-86.

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Last Modified: Jun 16, 2016
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