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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > Is this plant a weed? > Broadleaf Weeds > Upright > Canada Thistle

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Canada Thistle

Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.

  • Image: broadleaf Plantain
  • Image: broadleaf Plantain
  • Image: broadleaf Plantain

Found in:

  • Prairie plantings and lawns


  • Perennial that grows to 4’ tall
  • Upright stems are grooved, slightly hairy when young, increasingly hairy as they mature, and branched at the top
  • Leaves have crinkled edges, spiny margins, and are somewhat lobed
  • Flower heads are numerous, compact, and 3/4” or less in diameter; flowers June through Sept.
  • Flowers are reddish-purple to purple and are surrounded by bracts without spiny tips
  • Root system has underground stems (rhizomes)


Plants that look similar:

More information and control options for Canada Thistle

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