Cirsium rivulare (Brook Thistle)

Scientific Name

Cirsium rivulare (Jacq.) All

Common Names

Brook Thistle


Carduus erisithales, Carduus rivularis, Carduus salisburgensis, Carduus tricephaloides, Cirsium carniolicum, Cirsium gracile, Cirsium salisburgense, Cirsium semipectinatum, Cirsium siegerti, Cirsium tricephalodes, Cirsium tricephalum, Cnicus autareticus, Cnicus pontederae, Cnicus rivularis, Cnicus salisburgensis, Cnicus seminudus

Scientific Classification

Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Cirsium


Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Midsummer to late summer


Cirsium rivulare is an upright perennial that forms a clump of branching, leafy stems with purple, many-stellate flowers atop a large basal rosette of soft green leaves. The flowers are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. They start blooming in mid-summer and go straight through to late summer.

Cirsium rivulare - Brook Thistle
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USDA hardiness zone 5a to 9b: from −20 °F (−28.9 °C) to 25 °F (−3.9 °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).


Native to the whole of Europe, except the British Isles and northern Europe.



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