Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Nuttall's Thistle - Cirsium nuttallii   de Candolle
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Cirsium with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Family Asteraceae
Show/Hide Synonym
Authorde Candolle
DistributionEssentially the Southern 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. In 2023, a collection was made in far northern Wilson County (NCU); this record will be double-checked to determine accuracy, as this is a major northerly and inland range extension.

Coastal Plain, southern NC to FL and LA; disjunct to southeastern VA.
AbundanceVery rare; known from just four sites in the state. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatOne site (Brunswick) is from a roadside, a second (Columbus) is from a pasture, the third (Pender) is from a savanna, and the fourth (Wilson) is from a roadside close to a mixed forest. 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
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
Select an occurrence type