Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Cirsium neomexicanum, New Mexico Thistle

Cirsium neomexicanum, New Mexico Thistle, Southwest Desert Flora Cirsium neomexicanum, New Mexico Thistle, Southwest Desert Flora Cirsium neomexicanum, New Mexico Thistle, Southwest Desert Flora     Cirsium neomexicanum, New Mexico Thistle, Southwest Desert Flora Cirsium neomexicanum, New Mexico Thistle, Southwest Desert Flora     Cirsium neomexicanum, New Mexico Thistle, Southwest Desert Flora


Scientific Name: Cirsium neomexicanum
Common Name: New Mexico Thistle
Also Called: Desert Thistle, Foss Thistle Utah Thistle (Spanish: Cardo Santo)
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Carduus inamoenus, Carduus nevadensis, Cirsium arcuum, Cirsium humboldtense, Cirsium utahense)
Status: Native
Duration: Biennial or short lived perennial.
Size: 6 feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect, main stem, some branching above, spotted with cobweb like patches of short soft hairs; all parts with long stiff sharp spines.
Leaves: Green or greenish-gray; highly variable along stems; basal rosettes, upper oblong-elliptic to oblanceolate, deeply pinnatifid, uppermost leaves shorter, wing like bracts; spiny throughout.
Flower Color: Pink or purple, lavender or white; disk flowers only, large showy flower heads 2 or 3 inches wide, surrounded by sharp spine tipped bracts or phyllaries; solitary or 2 or 3 flower heads on tips of peduncles, loose corymb-like arrays.
Flowering Season: March to September, successful blooms following winter and spring rains and again after heavy summer monsoon rainfall.
Elevation: 1,000 to 6,500 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Plains, mesas, rocky hillsides, foothills, roadsides and washes.
Recorded Range: In the United States in AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV and UT and in northwest Mexico. New Mexico Thistle is scattered throughout most of Arizona.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Cirsium neomexicanum.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available

Genus Information: 95 species in Cirsium throughout all of North America, Puerto Rico Newfoundland, Greenland. 19 species in Arizona

Comments: New Mexico Thistle is not an aggressive noxious weed however the genus Cirsium is often included in many weed lists presumably through its relationship to aggressive thistles such as the European invasive Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare. It attracts many different insects including bees, wasps and butterflies. A southwestern species, the geographic range of New Mexico Thistle suggests it to be a Mojave Desert species although it is native to and common in both the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see; Arizona Thistle, Cirsium arizonicum, Graham's Thistle
Cirsium grahamii and Yellowspine Thistle, Cirsium ochrocentrum.

Navajo Indians used parts of the plant to reduce chills and fevers and a cold infusion of root was used as a wash for eye diseases. See species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 8/11/2012; Updated, 07/25/2015
References:
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
The Jepson Manual, Citation: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/interchange/I_treat_indexes.html Sat Aug 11 13:20:42 2012
David J. Keil, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Cirsium, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 08/11/2012)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations, http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/