yellowspine thistle, more...
[Cnicus ochrocentrus (A. Gray) A. Gray]
Perennials, 30-90 cm; crown sprouts or runner roots producing adventitious buds. Stems 1-20+, erect or ascending, densely gray-tomentose with non-septate trichomes; branches 0 or few, usually in distal 1/2, ascending. Leaves: blades oblong to narrowly elliptic, 10-30 × 2-8 cm, strongly undulate, margins coarsely dentate or shallowly to deeply pinnatifid with 8-15 pairs of lobes 0.5-2 cm, often revolute, lobes ± triangular, closely spaced, spreading, spinose-dentate and cleft into 2-5 spine-tipped divisions, main spines 5-20 mm, yellowish, abaxial faces densely white-tomentose, adaxial thinly gray-tomentose; basal usually present at flowering, winged-petiolate; principal cauline sessile, progressively reduced distally, bases ± auriculate to long-decurrent as spiny wings; distal cauline usually much reduced, less lobed. Heads 1-few, in leafy, ± corymbiform arrays. Peduncles 0-4 cm. Involucres ovoid to hemispheric or broadly campanulate, 2.5-4.5 × 2.5-4.5 cm in first-formed heads, often smaller in later ones, loosely arachnoid on phyllary margins or glabrate. Phyllaries in 5-10 series, imbricate, ovate (outer) to linear-lanceolate (inner), margins entire, abaxial faces with narrow glutinous ridge; outer and middle appressed, spines spreading, 3-12 mm; apices of inner often flexuous, expanded and flat, scabrid-margined, sometimes erose, spineless. Corollas white or pale lavender to purple, pink, or red, 25-45 mm, tubes 8-25 mm, throats 6-17 mm, lobes 6-15 mm; style tips 2-8 mm. Cypselae light brown, sometimes with lighter or darker streaks, 6-9 mm, apical collars colored like the body, narrow; pappi (white or tawny), 20-40 mm, usually noticeably shorter than corolla. 2n = 30, 31, 32, 34.
Plant: Biennial or short-lived perennial forb to 80 cm; roots creeping; stems usually single to sparingly branched; herbage with short woolly hairs Leaves: leaves alternate, 5-15 cm long, with tufts of soft woolly hairs on the surface and densely woolly pubescent on the underside, pinnately cleft into narrow lobes not reaching the midrib, and long yellowish spines at lobe tips INFLORESCENCE: primary inflorescence a head, each resembling a flower; heads discoid, 1-few in cymes; peduncles 0-10 cm, leafy; involucres 2.5-3.5 cm, 2-3.5 cm diam, ± ovoid to bell-shaped, ± loosely tomentose, becoming glabrous; phyllaries strongly graduated (outer ovate, inner oblong), minutely roughened or toothed, tightly appressed, midribs of middle phyllaries often with glandular area, spines 5-12 mm, stout, spreading to reflexed, inner with tips erect or recurved, ± twisted, flat, sometimes ± expanded and fringed Flowers: corollas 29-37 mm, ± bilateral, rose to cream colored; tube 14-17 mm, slender; throat 7-10 mm; lobes 8-11 mm; anther bases sharply sagittate, tips oblong; style tip with slightly swollen node, appendage (above node) long, cylindric, branches very short Fruit: 7-8 mm, light brown, ± thick, ovoid, glabrous; scar slightly angled; pappus 25-30 mm, bristles many, plumose Misc: Disturbed places, fields; < 1700 m; Apr-Jul
FNA 2006, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Kearny and Peebles 1979, Heil et al 2013
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herbs, 30-90 cm tall; stems erect or ascending, simple or sparingly branched, densely gray-tomentose. Leaves: Basal leaves on winged petioles, usually still present at flowering; cauline leaves alternate, progressively reduced distally, the bases auriculate to long-decurrent with spiny wings; blades oblong to narrowly elliptic, 10-30 cm long by 2-8 cm wide, strongly undulate with coarsely dentate margins, or shallowly to deeply pinnatifid with 8-15 pairs of lobes; lobes triangular and tipped with strong spines, these 5-20 mm long, yellowish; lower surfaces of blades densely white-tomentose, upper surfaces thinly gray-tomentose. Flowers: Flower heads discoid, 1-3 per plant, located at branch tips; involucre (ring of bracts wrapped around the flower head) ovoid to hemispheric or broadly campanulate, 2-5 cm high, the bracts (phyllaries) imbricate in 5-10 series, glabrate or loosely arachnoid on margins, with a ridge of glands on the back and tipped with speading spines, these 3-12 mm long; florets all discs, the corollas cream-colored or rose-colored to deep carmine or purple, 25-45 mm long. Fruits: Achenes 6-9 mm long, light brown with lighter or darker streaks, topped with a pappus of white or tawny bristles, 2-4 cm long, noticeably shorter than the corolla. Ecology: Found in open areas, grasslands, and often in disturbed areas, from 4,500-8,000 ft (1372-2438 m); flowers June-October. Distribution: CA east to SD, south through AZ, NM and TX to n MEX. Notes: Distinguished from other Cirsium spp. by being shorter (< 1 m tall); densely tomentose; having appressed phyllaries with yellowish spreading spines about 1 cm long. Material from east-central and southeastern AZ and neighboring western NM is mostly var. martinii, with red, pink, or reddish-purple corollas and leaf bases that are clasping or short-decurrent, running along the stem for less than 1 cm. The more widespread var. ochrocentrum is also present in NM and AZ as well as the rest of the species- range, and has white, lavender, or purple corollas and long-decurrent leaf bases. Ethnobotany: Used as a wash for burns and sores; as a contraceptive; as a treatment for syphilis and diabetes; the roots were eaten; and blossoms were scattered at burial sites to keep wolves from digging up the body. Etymology: Cirsium is Greek for thistle, while ochrocentrum means having and ochre-colored center. Synonyms: Cnicus ochrocentrus, Carduus undulatus var. undulatus, Carduus ochrocentrus, Cnicus undulatus var. ochrocentrus Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2015