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Musk Thistle

Scientific Name

Carduus nutans L. (ITIS)

Common Name

Musk thistle, nodding thistle

Native To

Eurasia (Zouhar 2002)

Date of U.S. Introduction

First recorded in 1852 (Zouhar 2002)

Means of Introduction

Accidental, possibly through ballast water (Zouhar 2002)


Crowds out native species and forage for livestock (Zouhar 2002)

Musk thistle
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Musk thistle, flower


Photo by Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte

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Distribution / Maps / Survey Status


Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
Federal Government
International Government
State and Local Government
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Carduus nutans. [Accessed Sep 19, 2023].

  • Zouhar, K. 2002. Carduus nutans. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.