Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Musk Thistle - Carduus nutans   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Carduus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionSo far, known from the Piedmont and Mountains. First collected in 1961 in Chatham County; the great majority of records are post-1990. Expected to occur in many more counties.

Native of Eurasia; in N.A. throughout the U.S. and southern Canada.
AbundanceInfrequent to locally fairly common, but spreading rapidly. Populations vary greatly in number of individuals, but in Chatham (1961) and Moore (2015) counties both had populations estimated as "abundant."
HabitatRoadsides, fields, pastures, prairie-restoration area, industrial park.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late May-October.
IdentificationMusk or Nodding Thistle is easily identified by the very broad, rose-purple, nodding head and winged stem. C. acanthoides has a smaller, erect head.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)Nodding Thistle, Nodding Plumeless-thistle
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpUPL link
USACE-empUPL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieSame data. MoorePhoto_non_natural
B.A. SorriePasture, Piedmont of northern Moore Co., June 2015. MoorePhoto_non_natural
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