Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Nuttall's Thistle - Cirsium nuttallii   de Candolle
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Authorde Candolle
DistributionSouthern outer Coastal Plain, where restricted to Brunswick, Columbus, and Pender counties. First collected in NC in 2002, north of Hallsboro, Columbus County (specimens at NCSC and USCH). Found in Pender County in 1999, but no collection made. Photographs from Brunswick County were posted on Facebook, taken in 2020.

Coastal Plain, southern NC to FL and LA; disjunct to southeastern VA.
AbundanceVery rare; known from just three sites in the state. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatOne site (Brunswick) is from a roadside, a second (Columbus) is from a pasture, and the third (Pender) is from a savanna. Within its range, mainly in pine savannas, but also found on roadsides and other disturbed open ground.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-August.
IdentificationAs noted under LeConte's Thistle (C. lecontei), this species is somewhat similar except that it has more heads per inflorescence and the heads are smaller. However, Nuttall's Thistle can grow very tall, often 6-9 feet tall, with numerous branches; and its heads can often be white (as well as pink). Both species flower about the same time (contra Virginia Thistle [C. virginianum]), which flowers later.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusSR-P
US Status
USACE-agcpFAC link
USACE-empFAC link
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