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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Purple Star Thistle
Species Profiles

Purple Star Thistle

Purple Star ThistleScientific name: Centaurea calcitrapa L.

Common names: Purple star thistle, red star thistle, common star thistle

Click image to enlarge

Native To: Mediterranean Region (Pitcairn et al. 2002)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First discovered in the late 1800s (Pitcairn et al. 2002)

Means of Introduction: Accidental (Pitcairn et al. 2002)

Impact: Crowds out desirable forage species on rangelands (Pitcairn et al. 2002)

Current U.S. Distribution:


Selected Internet Resources:

Federal Government

Centaurea calcitrapa L.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Centaurea calcitrapa Article Citation Search - AGRICOLA Database
USDA. National Agricultural Library.
Research; Special Note: NAL Catalog Search (resources)

Centaurea calcitrapa L. - Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.
Taxonomy; Distribution; Legal Aspects

PLANTS Database - Red Star-thistle
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.
Taxonomy; Illustrations; Distribution; Legal Aspects

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State Government

Centaurea genus - EncycloWeedia
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Identification/Description; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Purple starthistle
Oregon Department of Agriculture. Plant Division. Noxious Weed Control.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution

Class A Noxious Weed: Purple Starthistle
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls; Legal Aspects

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Centaurea calcitrapa - CalPhotos
University of California - Berkeley. Digital Library Project.

Purple Starthistle - Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Distribution

Managing Purple and Iberian Starthistles (PDF | 134 KB)
University of Nevada - Reno. Cooperative Extension.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Controls

Purple Starthistle Wanted Poster--Dead, Not Alive! (PDF | 168 KB)
University of Nevada - Reno. Cooperative Extension.
Identification/Description; Photographs

Problem Thistles of Oregon (PDF | 637 KB)
Oregon State University. Extension and Experiment Station.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Distribution

Purple Starthistle and Iberian Starthistle
Washington State University. Cooperative Extension.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Illustrations; Impacts; Distribution; Controls; Legal Aspects

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Centaurea calcitrapa L. (Red Star-thistle)
BioImages Virtual Field-Guide.

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Centaurea calcitrapa - Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands Book (2000)
California Invasive Plant Council.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Illustrations; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Purple Starthistle - Weed Alert
State of California. Santa Barbara County Weed Management Area.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Legal Aspects

Purple Starthistle - IVM Technical Bulletin
Integrated Pest Management Information Service.
Identification/Description; Impacts; Life Cycle; Distribution; Controls

Species Fact Sheet: Purple Starthistle (PDF | 346 KB)
Learning Center of the American Southwest.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion


Pitcairn, M.J., J.A. Young, C.D. Clements, and J. Balciunas. 2002. Purple starthistle (Centaurea calcitrapa) seed germination. Weed Technology 16(2):452-456.

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Last Modified: Jul 01, 2014
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