WSU Extension

Hortsense

Weeds
 
Annual bluegrass 
Barnyardgrass 
Bentgrass, creeping 
Bermudagrass 
Bittercress (Shotweed, Hairy bittercress) 
Bittersweet nightshade (European bittersweet) 
Black medic 
Blackberry (Himalayan, Evergreen, Pacific) 
Blue mustard (Purple mustard, Tenella mustard) 
Brackenfern, western 
Buffalobur 
Bull thistle 
Buttercup, creeping 
Canada thistle 
Catchweed bedstraw (Cleavers) 
Catsear, common (False dandelion) 
Chickweed, common and mouseear 
Clover 
Comfrey 
Crabgrass 
Dandelion 
Dock (Curly, Broadleaf) 
Dodder 
Downy brome (Cheatgrass, Downy chess) 
Dwarf mistletoes 
English daisy (Lawn daisy) 
English ivy 
Field bindweed (Wild morningglory) 
Field pennycress (Fanweed) 
Flixweed 
Foxtail (Green, Yellow, Bristly) 
Garden loosestrife 
Giant hogweed 
Goldenrods 
Groundsel, common 
Hawkweeds 
Hedge bindweed 
Henbit 
Herb Robert (Robert geranium, stinky Bob) 
Horsetails (Scouringrush) 
Horseweed (Marestail) 
Knapweeds 
Knotweeds (Bohemian, Giant, Japanese, Himalayan) 
Kochia 
Lambsquarters, common 
Liverworts 
Mallow, common (Cheeseweed, Buttonweed) 
Nightshades 
Oxalis (Creeping woodsorrel) 
Parrotfeather and Eurasian watermilfoil 
Pineappleweed 
Plantain (Broadleaf, Buckhorn) 
Poison hemlock 
Poison ivy and Poison oak 
Prickly lettuce (China lettuce) 
Prostrate knotweed 
Puncturevine (Tackweed, Goathead) 
Purple deadnettle (Red deadnettle) 
Purple loosestrife (Purple lythrum) 
Purslane, common 
Quackgrass 
Red sorrel (Sheep sorrel) 
Redroot pigweed (Rough pigweed) 
Redstem filaree (Stork's bill, Crane's bill) 
Reed canarygrass 
Russian thistle (Tumbleweed) 
Ryegrass, annual (Italian ryegrass) 
Salsify (Goatsbeard) 
Scotch broom 
Shepherd's-purse 
Smartweeds 
Sowthistle, annual and perennial 
Speedwells 
Spurges (Prostrate spurges) 
St. Johnswort, common (Goatweed, Klamathweed) 
Stinging nettle 
Tansy ragwort 
Tumblemustard (Jim Hill mustard) 
Velvetgrass (Common velvetgrass) 
Velvetleaf 
Water primrose 
Waterhemlock, western 
Yellow nutsedge 



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Caption: Bull thistle flower
Photo by: J.A. Kropf
  
Weeds : Bull thistle : Cirsium vulgare
(revision date: 8/13/2015)

Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Cycle: Biennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Biology
A first-year plant of bull thistle is a rosette of deeply lobed, wavy-margined leaves. The upper surface of the leaves is prickly and hairy, while the underside is cottony. Mature second-year plants may reach up to five feet tall and almost as wide. Leaves are alternate on the branching, irregular, spiny, winged stems. The dark pink to purple flowers are one to two inches wide, appearing singly in mid-summer on the ends of branches. The flower bases are covered with spines. Bull thistle spreads only by seeds (unlike Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense, a similar plant that is an aggressively spreading perennial). SPECIAL INFORMATION: Bull thistle is designated as a Class 'C' noxious weed in WASHINGTON and a Class 'B' noxious weed in OREGON. Management may be required by law in your county. In addition, it is on the Oregon noxious weed quarantine list, which prohibits sale, purchase, and transport of plants, seeds, and plant parts. Consult your local Noxious Weed Control Board for more information.
Habitat
Bull thistle is commonly found in pastures, fields, waste areas, and roadsides on fairly rich, moist soils.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.
  • Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label directions. Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only. NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
  • dichlobenil
Turf areas
  • products containing 2,4-D
  • triclopyr
  • 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
  • products containing 2,4-D
  • triclopyr
Images

+ Show larger images

 
Caption: Bull thistle flower
Photo by: J.A. Kropf
Caption: Bull thistle leaf tips, spined
Photo by: J.A. Kropf
Caption: Bull thistle flower stem
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Caption: Thistles (Canada on left, Bull on right)
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Bull thistle bud
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Bull thistle leaf
Photo by: T. W. Miller
Caption: Bull thistle rosette
Photo by: T. W. Miller