Cirsium acaule (Stemless Thistle)

Scientific Name

Cirsium oleraceum (L.) Scop.

Common Names

Stemless Thistle, Dwarf Thistle


Carduus caulescens, Carduus gmelini, Carduus rosenii, Carduus spinosus, Cirsium allionii, Cirsium alpestre, Cirsium bipontinum, Cirsium consanguineum, Cirsium decipiens, Cirsium exigium, Cirsium fallax, Cirsium rosenii, Cirsium sorocephalum, Cnicus affghanicus

Scientific Classification

Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Cirsium


Color: Red-purple
Bloom Time: June to September


Cirsium acaule is a perennial herb with leaves arranged in a spreading rosette. The leaves are spiny and up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. There is usually only one flower head, although there can sometimes be 2 or 3. Usually, it is not stalked from the leaf rosette. The flower head is up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long, and the florets are red-purple. They flower from June to September.

Cirsium acaule (Stemless Thistle)
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USDA hardiness zone 3a to 10b: from −40 °F (−40 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The seeds of Cirsium can be sown in either autumn or after the last frost of spring. They should be sown at a depth of 0.12 inches (3 mm). If grown indoors first, then Cirsium takes about 2 to 3 weeks to germinate at a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius). The seedlings should be planted out in early spring when it is still possible to get a frost with a spacing of about 2 feet (60 cm).

Cirisium thrives in full sun and poor, average, or reach soil that is moist but well-drained. Plants require little care, but deadheading limits their tendency to self-sow. They generally self-sow only in moderation, and unlike weedy thistles, the seedlings are easy to pull up. Use Thistles in mixed beds, herb gardens, or meadow-like plantings. See more at How to Grow and Care for Thistles (Cirsium)


It is widespread across much of Europe.


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