Cirsium arvense - (L.)Scop.
Common Name Creeping Thistle, Canada thistle
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Arable land, roadsides etc[9, 13], a common weed of cultivated land[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

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Bloom Color: Pink, Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Irregular or sprawling.

Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle, Canada thistle
Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle, Canada thistle
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Cirsium arvense is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Carduus arvensis. Serratula arvensis.

 Meadow; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil;  Root;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent;  Oil.

Root of first year plants - raw or cooked[183]. Nutritious but rather bland, they are best used in a mixture with other vegetables[9]. The root is likely to be rich in inulin, a starch that cannot be digested by humans. This starch thus passes straight through the digestive system and, in some people, ferments to produce flatulence[K]. Stems - they are peeled and cooked like asparagus or rhubarb[9, 12, 177, 183]. Leaves - raw or cooked[177, 183]. A fairly bland flavour, but the prickles need to be removed before the leaves can be eaten - not only is this rather fiddly but very little edible leaf remains[K]. The leaves are also used to coagulate plant milks etc[46, 61, 183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Emmenagogue;  Hepatic;  Tonic.

The root is tonic, diuretic, astringent, antiphlogistic and hepatic[207]. It has been chewed as a remedy for toothache[4]. A decoction of the roots has been used to treat worms in children[257]. A paste of the roots, combined with an equal quantity of the root paste of Amaranthus spinosus, is used in the treatment of indigestion[272]. The plant contains a volatile alkaloid and a glycoside called cnicin, which has emetic and emmenagogue properties[240]. The leaves are antiphlogistic[207]. They cause inflammation and have irritating properties[207[.


Other Uses
Oil;  Tinder.

The seed fluff is used as a tinder[106]. The seed of all species of thistles yields a good oil by expression[4]. The seed of this species contains about 22% oil[240].
Cultivation details
The creeping thistle is a pernicious garden weed, spreading freely from its aggressive root system[17, K], It can quickly form dense clumps of growth and really does not need to be introduced into the garden. Succeeds in any ordinary garden soil in a sunny position[200]. Plants are often dioecious[17]. A polymorphic species[17]. Special Features:North American native, Invasive, Attracts butterflies.
Seed - sow early spring or autumn in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 8 weeks at 20°c. A pernicious weed, not many people would want to invite this plant into their garden.
Other Names
Creeping thistle Field thistle, Californian thistle, Canadian thistle, lettuce from hell thistle, corn thistle, cursed thistle, field thistle, green thistle, hard thistle, perennial thistle, prickly thistle, small-flowered thistle, way thistl, Cardo cundidor, Choussio, Ciji, Da khawarak azghai, Honghuamiao,Koygocerten, Koygocuren, Ohakas, Ohtja, Perticone, Stioppone, Stramontano.
Found In
Afghanistan, Argentina, Asia, Australia, Britain, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Estonia, Europe*, India, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mediterranean, Mongolia, Nepal, North America, Pakistan, Russia, South America, Tasmania, Tibet, Turkey, USA.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Widely considered a weed even where it is native. It is cited as a noxious weed in several countries; for example Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States.
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Cirsium acaulonStemless Thistle01
Cirsium amplexifoliumDakiba-Hime-Azami10
Cirsium brevicaule 10
Cirsium brevistylumIndian Thistle, Clustered thistle30
Cirsium buergeri 10
Cirsium chinense 10
Cirsium coreanum 10
Cirsium dipsacolepis 10
Cirsium eatoniEaton's Thistle11
Cirsium eduleEdible Thistle30
Cirsium eriophorumWooly Thistle20
Cirsium foliosumElk thistle30
Cirsium hookerianumWhite Thistle20
Cirsium japonicumNo-Azami, Japanese thistle22
Cirsium kamtschaticumKamchatka thistle10
Cirsium lepskyle 10
Cirsium lineare 10
Cirsium maackii 10
Cirsium maritimum 10
Cirsium nipponicum 11
Cirsium occidentaleCobwebby Thistle, Snowy thistle, Compact cobwebby thistle20
Cirsium ochrocentrumYellow Spined Thistle22
Cirsium oleraceumCabbage Thistle20
Cirsium oligophyllum 20
Cirsium pallidumPale Thistle11
Cirsium palustreMarsh Thistle20
Cirsium pectinellum 10
Cirsium pendulum 10
Cirsium purpuratum 10


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Readers comment
Pam Sherman   Tue Apr 28 2009
Re: eating the leaves of Cirsium arvense and C. vulgare: I pick these in quantity when the plant is under 1 foot/.3 meters high, then rinse them to remove dirt and bugs. I find that rinsing (at least under a stream of water) tends to disable the prickers to a noticeable extent. I cut the plant's stem with scissors via gloved hands, but rinse the leaves with bare hands. Then I cook them in water or stock (the latter is tastier) and the prickers are fully disabled. I then puree the leaves with a good quantity of milk (or milk substitute), season to taste with onion, garlic, salt, etc. and have a cream soup. I also put it in quiche or savory pancakes. I tell my friends I'm serving them something special, but don't say what until after they have tasted it and have exclaimed how good it is. You do NOT have to remove the prickers by hand from the raw plant, so it is not a fiddly process. It's a great green vegetable source. I hope you can include this on your American website as well, so people can stop being afraid of eating the leaves of this plant when it is young. Thank you for an excellent website. I live in CO, USA
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Subject : Cirsium arvense  

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