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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Prairie Thistle - Cirsium canescens

Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Taprooted biennial. Stems erect, mostly unbranched 20–100 cm. Herbage tomentose. Leaves short-winged-petiolate, oblong to elliptic, 10–25 cm long, pinnately lobed. Inflorescence few to several heads on stem tips or upper leaf axils; peduncles 0–10 cm long. Involucres hemispheric, 3–4 cm high, sparsely arachnoid; phyllaries imbricate in 6 to 9 series, lanceolate, green, resinous-keeled; the outer appressed; the inner expanded, erose; spines 2–4 mm long. Disk corollas white to pinkish, 20–35 mm long. Achenes 5–7 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
NE and southwest SD, west to UT and south to central CO.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 31

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


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Citation for data on this website:
Prairie Thistle — Cirsium canescens.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from