Cirsium pitcheri
(Dune Thistle)

Other pictures of this plant:

               Seedpod                                           Leaf                                            Stem                                        Seed                                          Habit

Facts About this Plant:

    Common Names: Dune Thistle, Pitcher's Thistle, Sand Dune Thistle
    Synonyms: Cnicus pitcheri
    Zones: 4 - 6
    Type: Forb
    Bloom Time: June - August
    Status: Native

Cirsium pitcheri, or Dune Thistle, is native only to the sandy shores of Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior. It grows on sandy dunes and shorelines, where it can persist as a rosette (small plant without a flowering stem) for up to eight years, and then dies after blooming and setting seed, which is called a monocarpic perennial. It has white or gray flowers on medium stalked plants.

This species is not only easily identified by its range, which is limited only to the Dunes of the northern Great Lakes, but it is also one of the only species of thistle to have white-gray flowers. In addition it has unmistakeably divided, gray-silver leaves that make it very easy to differentiate from any other plant, including its cousins. There is a variety of this plant that has slightly pink flowers as well.

Go Back

Back to The Plants.

Back to A-Z Listing.