Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Hooker Thistle - Cirsium hookerianum

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links






 
General Description
Taprooted biennial. Stems erect, often unbranched, 25–90 cm. Herbage thinly to moderately arachnoid-tomentose; lower leaf surfaces usually whitish. Leaves short-petiolate; blades linear-oblanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 8–30 cm long, dentate to pinnately lobed. Inflorescence capitate or spike-like with usually 3 to 12 subsessile heads subtended by leaf-like bracts; peduncles 2 cm long. Involucres campanulate, 2–3 cm high, arachnoid-tomentose across the phyllaries that are imbricate in 4 to 8 series, whitish to purplish, linear-lanceolate; sometimes with a darkened resinous keel; inner acuminate, ciliate; spines 3–5 mm long, erect. Disk corollas white to light purple, 20–25 mm long. Achenes 5–7 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
On first-glance thistles can look similar, but upon closer inspection differences become apparent.
Thistles belong to the genera of Cirsium, Carduus, and Onopordum. They are separated by:

Cirsium
* Feathery (plumose) pappus, which have fine, long hairs on each side of the main bristle.
* Receptacle of flower head has bristles. Look between florets within a flower head to find them.

Carduus
* Capillary pappus, which are minutely barbed, narrow bristles.
* Receptacle of flower head has bristles. Look between florets within a flower head to find them.

Onopordum
* Receptacle of flower head has no bristles. Look between florets within a flower head to find nothing.
* Entire lengths of stems have spiny wings.
* Foliage is silvery gray.

Native versus Exotic (Source: Parkinson and Mangold 2015)
* Native thistles tend to have involucral bracts adhere to the flower head for most of their length (except for the spine).
* Native thistles tend to grow scattered across a habitat, spreading slowly with disturbance, and contribute to plant diversity.
* Exotic thistles grow quickly with disturbance, forming dense patches that interfere with access, and through competition often reduces plant diversity.

Montana has 12 species of Cirsium, and only 6 are described below.

Long-styled Thistle - Cirsium longistylum, native, Montana endemic, and SOC
* Upper leaf surface lacks spines.
* Inner & outer bracts are wide, scarious, and with erose tips AND outer bracts have a raised, darkened, and resinous keel.
* Flower heads have involucres more than 2 cm tall [examine larger heads].
* Resembles Hooker Thistle the most.

Hooker Thistle - Cirsium hookerianum, native and desirable
* Heads mostly clustered.
* Flower head stems (peduncles) are more than 2cm long.
* Flower heads have involucres of 2-3 cm tall [examine larger heads].
* Involucral bracts not erose, dilated, and scarious, but do have cobwebby hairs.
* Upper leaves mostly do NOT enclose the flower heads.
* Leaves are densely tomentose beneath and succulent.

Wavyleaf Thistle - Cirsium undulatum, native and desirable
* Upper leaf surface lacks spines AND white-tomentose hairs making it appear gray.
* Involucral bracts tend to point upwards with inner bracts acuminate.
* Flower heads have involucres more than 2 cm tall [examine larger heads].
* Most flower heads not clustered and peduncles more than 2 cm long.

Flodman’s Thistle - Cirsium flodmanii, native and desirable
* Upper leaf surface lacks spines AND has sparse white-tomentose hairs making it appear green.
* Involucral bracts tend to point upwards with inner bracts acuminate.
* Flower heads have involucres more than 2 cm tall [examine larger heads].
* Most flower heads are not clustered and some peduncles are more than 2 cm long.

Canada Thistle - Cirsium arvense, exotic and Noxious
* Flower heads have involucres less than 2 cm tall [examine larger heads].
* Each flower head consists of either male florets or female florets.
* Leaves are arachnoid-villous, but the green leaf remains visible.
* Stems lack an obvious winged stem.
* Plants are strongly rhizomatous.

Bull ThistleCirsium vulgare, exotic and undesirable
* Flower heads are mostly single at stem tips and arranged in an open inflorescence.
* Flower heads have involucres more than 2 cm tall [examine larger heads].
* On the flower head the outer bracts tend to point outwards and upwards, are needle-like and long.
* Leaves are deeply lobed, green beneath with cobwebby hairs and obvious white veins.
* Leaves have many sharp, short spines. Entire plant has spines, some very long, making it difficult to touch without injury.
* Plants are taprooted.

Scotch ThistleOnopordum acanthium, exotic and undesirable
* Receptacle of flower head has no bristles.
* Entire lengths of stems have spiny wings, becoming broad and spiny.
* Foliage is silvery gray and can grow taller than 6 feet.

Musk Thistle - Carduus nutans, exotic and undesirable
* Flower heads have involucral bracts that are broadly triangular, have smooth margins, and a short spine-tip.
* Heads nod as flowers mature.

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round
 


Range Comments
BC, AB south to WA, ID and WY (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 180

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

Recency

 

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



Habitat
Meadows, grasslands, woodlands, open slopes; valleys to subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Ecology
POLLINATORS
The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this species or genera where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus appositus, Bombus auricomus, Bombus bifarius, Bombus borealis, Bombus centralis, Bombus fervidus, Bombus flavifrons, Bombus frigidus, Bombus huntii, Bombus mixtus, Bombus nevadensis, Bombus rufocinctus, Bombus sylvicola, Bombus ternarius, Bombus terricola, Bombus sitkensis, Bombus occidentalis, Bombus pensylvanicus, Bombus bimaculatus, Bombus griseocollis, Bombus impatiens, Bombus insularis, Bombus suckleyi, Bombus bohemicus, and Bombus flavidus (Thorp et al. 1983, Mayer et al. 2000, Wilson et al. 2010, Colla and Dumesh 2010, Colla et al. 2011, Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014, Tripoldi and Szalanski 2015).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S., L. Richardson, and P. Williams. 2011. Bumble bees of the eastern United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 103 p.
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141: 39-68.
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Mayer, D.F., E.R. Miliczky, B.F. Finnigan, and C.A. Johnson. 2000. The bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of southeastern Washington. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 97: 25-31.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Tripoldi, A.D. and A.L. Szalanski. 2015. The bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus) of Arkansas, fifty years later. Journal of Melittology 50: doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17161/jom.v0i50.4834
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press.
    • Wilson, J.S., L.E. Wilson, L.D. Loftis, and T. Griswold. 2010. The montane bee fauna of north central Washington, USA, with floral associations. Western North American Naturalist 70(2): 198-207.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Fultz, J.E. 2005. Effects of shelterwood management on flower-visiting insects and their floral resources. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 163 p.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Simanonok, M. 2018. Plant-pollinator network assembly after wildfire. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 123 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Hooker Thistle"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Hooker Thistle — Cirsium hookerianum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from