Cirsium horridulum

Purple thistle, yellow thistle

Asteraceae (Compositae)

Synonyms:  Carduus horridulus

wildlife plant   wildlife plant   wildlife plant

Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: flower
Life Span: annual
Size: Height: 1-4 ft    Width: 1-2 ft
Flower Color: flower color   flower color   flower color      white,pink,purple
Fruit Color: fruit color      white
Phenology: winter dormant
Noted for: Showy flowers, thorns, interesting foliage


Recommended Uses: Natural landscapes including meadows and butterfly gardens.
Considerations: Purple thistle is a thorny plant - be very careful when handling.
Propagation: Readily self seeds. Following pollination the flower head can be bagged to collect the seed head which follows.
Availability: Seed
Light: light requirement   light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Moderately salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand
Soil pH Range: 6.1 - 7.8


wildlife plant   wildlife plant   wildlife plant  
Larval host to little metalmark (Calephelis virginiensis) and painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies. It is also a nectar source for native and bubblebees. The seeds are rich in oil, an important food source for seed-eating birds. Also beetles eat the flowers.
Native Habitats: coastal plain, edges of salt marshes, pinewoods, prairies and disturbed areas.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


Members of the Seminole tribe used parts of this plant to make blowgun darts.