What is nodding thistle?(Carduus nutans)
- Nodding thistle is a serious pasture weed.
- Nodding thistle is a declared weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of nodding thistle are prohibited in Tasmania.
How to identify nodding thistle
thistles are normally biennial plants (living for two years). The
thistle grows into a rosette (a whorl of leaves close to the ground) in
its first year. In its second year, the rosette produces one or more
spiny stems up to 1.5 m in height and often branched towards the top.
flowers are red-purple in colour and around 50 mm across. As the flower
head develops the stem below the head bends, resulting in the typical
'nodding' appearance of this thistle.
- In some areas in Tasmania,
nodding thistles can grow through from the rosette stage to flowering
in the one season, thus behaving as an annual.
- For help in identifying thistles in Tasmania, see Identifying Thistles in Tasmania and search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora database
for nodding thistle illustrations. If you are still in doubt about the
thistle you are dealing with, contact your Regional Weed Management
Officer on 1300 368 550 for help.
Nodding thistle in Tasmania
thistle occurs in small patches in most parts of Tasmania, mainly in the
north and north east of the state and through the Midlands (see map).
thistle prefers open situations on richer soils receiving good
rainfall. Nodding thistles are an aggressive competitor with pasture.
Rosette diameters exceeding one metre are common so losses in
productivity through competition with pasture grass can occur even at
low weed densities. Plants can grow up to two metres tall and dense
stands of nodding thistle can also reduce the accessibility of pasture
What is the legal status of nodding thistle in your area?Detailed management and control guidelines for nodding thistle can be found in the Nodding Thistle Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Nodding Thistle Control.
Nodding Thistle Control Guide
Herbicides for Nodding Thistle Control
Statutory Management Plan for Nodding Thistle
Weed Links and Resources
Other useful links
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