- Solitary flowers at the end of a 20cm-2.5m tall stem
- Alternate leaves, waxy cuticle
- Flowers are purple-red with spiny bracts surrounding the flower.
- Called ‘nodding thistle’ because the flowers droop down as they mature.
Consequences of invasion
- A problem in grasslands where grazing animals favour grasses over the thistle, giving it an growth advantage
- Outcompetes native grasses
- Creates impenetrable thickets
Introduction and spread
- Native to Europe
- A nodding thistle plant may produce up to 20 000 seeds
- Seeds can be transported to new areas via vehicles, equipment or clothing
- Prefers to establish on disturbed sites.
Integrated Pest Management Options
- Learn to properly identify nodding thistle
- Clean equipment and gear before leaving an infested site
- Hand digging and mowing can be effective if repeated over a period of time
- Mow just before plants flower to reduce seed production.
- Transport securely and dispose of removed invasive species properly at a landfill