Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sandhill Thistle - Cirsium repandum   Michaux
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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DistributionCoastal Plain, including the Sandhills, and lowermost Piedmont; absent from the Outer Banks and scarce in the northeastern corner of the state.

Southeastern VA to east-central GA.
AbundanceCommon and widespread in the Sandhills region. Generally common in most of the remainder of the southern half of the Coastal Plain, at least in Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) stands. Rare in the northeastern portion of the province, and along the edge of the Piedmont.
HabitatXeric to dry pine-oak-Wiregrass uplands, sandhills, sand ridges, roadsides, and powerlines.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-July.
IdentificationThis is a familiar thistle in the Coastal Plain, especially in the Sandhills. Plants typically grow 1.5-2.5 feet tall, sometimes up to 3 feet, with a few to many terminal rose-purple heads on short stalks. Leaves are green on both surfaces, not white-pubescent beneath (contra Virginia Thistle [C. virginianum]), and basal leaves are lacking (contra Pasture Thistle [C. pumilum]).
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Coastal-plain Thistle
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieLongleaf Pine-wiregrass, West End, NC, late June 2000. MoorePhoto_natural

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