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Native Field Thistle
Cirsium discolor

a.k.a. Field Thistle

Field Thistle is a biennial or short-lived perennial that attracts many types of pollinators. Its seeds are a favorite of Goldfinches. Its floral bracts are softer and less spiky than non-native thistle species. Field Thistle has a tap root and thus does not spread aggressively.

USDA symbol: CIDI

General Information

Plant TypeForb
Height4 to 7 feet
Light ExposureSun
Soil MoistureDry, Medium
Bloom ColorWhite, Pink
Native Field Thistle (Native Field Thistle<div><em class="small">Cirsium discolor</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Wildflowers (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience8
Salt ToleranceMedium
Stress ToleranceDrought Tolerant, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Very High

Bloom MonthsSeptember to October
Larval Host ofBees, Moths
Specific Pollinators HostedMelissodes desponsus, Melissodes rivalis, Paralobesia carduana, Platyptilia carduidactylus
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar, Stem Nesting, Supports Generalists

Project Planning

Project TypeRain Garden
Coefficient of Conservatism3
Herbivore SensitivityLow
LifespanBiennial, Perennial
Rate of SpreadMedium
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionWeakly Clonal


CountyAnoka, Becker, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Cass, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Dakota, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Isanti, Jackson, Le Sueur, Marshall, McLeod, Morrison, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Pine, Polk, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Rice, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena, Washington, Watonwan, Winona, Wright
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands