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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. (ITIS)

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

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Selected Resources

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 Resources:

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Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands - Centaurea calcitrapa
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 Plant Atlas of the United States - Purple Starthistle
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.


Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) - Centaurea calcitrapa
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

PLANTS Database - Red Star-thistle
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.


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

Plant Pest Risk Assessment for Purple Starthistle, Centaurea calcitrapa (Sep 2010; PDF | 2.82 MB)
Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Class A Noxious Weed: Purple Starthistle
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.


Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States: Purple and Iberian Starthistle (2013; PDF | 243 KB)
University of California. Weed Research and Information Center.


Species Fact Sheet: Purple Starthistle (PDF | 346 KB)
Learning Center of the American Southwest.

Purple Star-thistle Control (PDF | 147 KB)
Marin Agricultural Land Trust (California).


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Centaurea calcitrapa. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

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: Oct 01, 2015
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