Thistles are excellent plants for supporting wildlife, providing nectar for a wide range of insects and seeds for wintering birds, such as Goldfinches. Thistle blossoms are much loved by butterflies and other pollinators. Painted Lady butterflies prefer thistles as food plants for their larva. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Most of the hate for thistles comes from a handful of invasive species that tend to quickly take over any disturbed area in sight. Gorse is brilliant for insects, as its very hardy and the spines are a good hiding place for winter (Unless your lucky enough to have dartford warblers around). Bull Thistle. For some large ungulates like elk, native thistles are a source of forage. Listing - Pitcher’s thistle was added to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants on July 18, 1988. This guide serves to promote the importance of maintaining native thistles in the landscape and should be used to verify whether a thistle is native or exotic before implementing control strategies. But before you target all thistles, remember that there are 20 native thistle species in Colorado, and these play an important role for wildlife. Just a shame it dries out so much in long dry periods, as it often goes up in flames then, nearly all our hill fires originate in … Ah, yes. Cirsium scopulorum has a limited range, growing in sub-alpine and alpine zones (9,000 to 13,000 feet) along the Continental Divide from New Mexico to Wyoming. Native thistles are a largely misunderstood and wrongly maligned group of wildflowers. For example, monarch butterflies visit native thistle flowers more than any other wildflowers in some regions during their migration back to … We get many European skippers visiting our plants. Their good health helped to turn the tide of battle to his favor. Plants in this family have many small flowers that are gathered into a flowerhead which then looks like a single flower. Thistles saved Emperor Charlemagne from defeat. Whatever would I have to talk about without thistle issues? It’s perhaps one of the easiest plants to identify. The thistle is an annual, biennial, or perennial herb. Good for you! Appropriately, the name scopulorum means “rocky places.”. Formerly called the Compositae, this family of daisies, dandelions and thistles is large. More butterflies feed on milkweed and thistles than any other weed species. Wildlife and Pollinators! How to identify the plant. Truly a favored and happy topic! It prefers full sun and moist soil. thistle pollen and become food sources for wildlife. How people can help The Wildlife Trusts look after many meadow habitats using traditional methods, such as hay-cutting, reseeding and grazing, for the benefit of local wildlife. Thistles are the irrepressible do-as-thou-wilt characters thriving as if to spite the pious and tidy-minded. Classification: Cirsium vulgare Geographic Location: Pacific and western states Description: It is a tall biennial thistle, forming a rosette of leaves and a taproot up to 70 cm long in the first year, and a flowering stem 1–1.5 m tall in the second year.The stem is winged, with numerous longitudinal spine-tipped wings along its full length. Native thistles should not be killed, because they are not noxious weeds. The thistle’s roots were made into a healing medicine for his disease-plagued armies. The painted lady is also known as the thistle butterfly. Look for it above the tree-line, and in boulder fields and scree slopes. Wildlife Uses. Many species of bees, butterflies and other wildlife rely heavily on native thistle flowers. 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