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Home / Terrestrial Invasives / Terrestrial Plants / Purple Star Thistle

Purple Star Thistle

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Purple star thistle
Purple starthistle, flower - Photo by Malcolm Storey; BioImages, Virtual Field-Guide (UK)
Scientific Name: 
Centaurea calcitrapa L. (ITIS)
Common Name: 
Purple star thistle, red star thistle, common star thistle
Native To: 
Mediterranean Region (Pitcairn et al. 2002)
Date of U.S. Introduction: 
First discovered in the late 1800s (Pitcairn et al. 2002)
Means of Introduction: 
Crowds out desirable forage species on rangelands (Pitcairn et al. 2002)

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Provides state, county, point and GIS data. Maps can be downloaded and shared.


University of California - Berkeley. Digital Library Project.
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.


Google. YouTube; Elsberg Studios.

Made for the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Purple Star Thistle.

Council or Task Force

California Invasive Plant Council.

In online book: Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, and M.C. Hoshovsky (Editors). 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Texas State University System. Texas Invasive Species Institute.

Centre for Invasive Species Solutions; Atlas of Living Australia; Australian Government. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Federal Government

DOI. NPS. Science of the American Southwest.

See also: Fact Sheets for Invasive Exotic Plants for more fact sheets
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program. GRIN-Global.

State and Local Government
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
See also: Included on California's noxious weed list; see Encycloweedia: Program Details for additional resources
University of California. Weed Research and Information Center.
See also: Weeds in Natural Areas for more information sheets
Marin Agricultural Land Trust (California).