www.zinnysworld.com    Copyright 2000-2015 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved. Purple Thistle Cirsium horridulum

The Purple Thistle is a herbaceous biennial with spiny, lobed leaves that form a basal rosette about 1-2 feet wide.  A spiny flower stalk rises from the center of the rosette reaching a height of 3-4 feet.  Large flower heads form at the end of each stalk.  These open to large and very showy purplish-pink flowers that are exceptional nectar sources for a variety of insects.  This plant also serves as a host for the Metalmark butterfly.

This plant is considered a native weed that grows in pinelands, pastures, and along roadsides in all sections of Florida and much of the non-mountainous areas of the eastern and southern United States.

All of the photos on this page were taken at the Babcock-Webb WMA in Charlotte County.

The distribution maps for the Purple Thistle are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).