Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Carolina Thistle - Cirsium carolinianum   (Walter) Fernald & Schubert
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Cirsium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(Walter) Fernald & Schubert
DistributionPiedmont and low Mountains, with large gaps that appear to be real; most widespread in the southwestern portion of the Piedmont, including in foothills ranges (South Mountains, etc.)

Northern VA to southern OH and MO, south to SC, GA, AL, TX.
AbundanceLocally uncommon in the southwestern portion of the Piedmont, but rare elsewhere in the Piedmont, and seemingly absent in the north-central counties. The only Mountain record appears to be from Madison County. This is a State Endangered species.
HabitatSlopes in mesic to dry open forests and woodlands, roadsides through the same habitats, barrens, and "prairie" openings. Prefers mafic or calcareous substrates.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting April-June.
IdentificationThis spring-flowering thistle grows 2-6 feet tall and is not likely confused with any other thistle, partly owing to its flowering period. Sandhill Thistle (C. repandum) blooms in late spring and early summer but is only half as tall and occurs in dry to xeric sandy soil of pinelands. As with most other thistles, it has bright purple-pink heads.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Spring Thistle, Soft Thistle
State RankS2
Global RankG5
State StatusE
US Status
USACE-agcp
USACE-emp
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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photographercommentsphoto_linkcountyobsType
B.A. SorrieMontgomery County, 2018, Uwharrie NF, mesic roadside bank. MontgomeryPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieMontgomery County, 2018, Uwharrie NF, mesic roadside bank. MontgomeryPhoto_natural
Harry LeGrand MadisonPhoto_natural

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