Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Blessed Thistle - Centaurea benedicta   (L.) L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Centaurea with account distribution info or public map:
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Author(L.) L.
DistributionScattered in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. First collected in 1911 in a rye and wheat field in Orange County; last collected in 1970 in a grain field in Chatham County. This sudden disappearance is puzzling.

Native of Mediterranean Europe; in N.A. -- N.S. to Ont. and WI, south to FL and TX; also WA to CA and AZ.
AbundanceOnce uncommon or perhaps rare; now seemingly absent or essentially so. This strong NC decline parallels that in VA -- "Almost all the Virginia records of this species were collected between 1944 and 1962, and most were sent to VPI by county extension agents. For whatever reason, it seems to have proliferated as a recurrent agricultural weed during that period, but has not been seen recently." (Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora website).
HabitatGrain fields, clover field, meadow, garden weed, campus weed.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late March-June.
IdentificationBlessed Thistle has yellow flower heads surrounded at the base by ovate bracts (phyllaries). The plants grow 1-2 feet tall, the foliage essentially divided like thistles and the lobes being weakly spiny. The sessile and larger heads separate it from C. solstitialis.
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State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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