Status of artichoke thistle in Tasmania?
Artichoke thistle flower, copyright: Kate Blood, CRC Weeds
- Artichoke thistle is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of artichoke thistle are prohibited in Tasmania.
legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing
with artichoke thistle are laid out in the artichoke thistle Statutory Weed Management Plan.
What does artichoke thistle look like?
thistle is a perennial (long-lived) herb which is very conspicuous in
appearance. The stems are erect, strongly ribbed and covered in fine
hairs. The leaves are grey-green above and woolly white below. The
rosette leaves can be large (up to 90 cm), while the stem leaves are
smaller and deeply divided into lobes. The leaves and leaf stalks have
spines. The flowers are large and purple-blue in colour and surrounded
by tough bracts which also end in a rigid spine. The seeds are dark
brown or black and have a feathery tuft (called a pappus) reaching 4 cm.
- Artichoke thistle is very similar to the cultivated globe artichoke C. scolymus. However globe artichoke is less spiny and has less divided leaves than artichoke thistle.
germinates mainly in autumn. In its first year the plant forms a
rosette (a whorl of leaves close to the ground), and the plant flowers
in its second year. Flowering occurs from December to February.
thistle spreads by seed. Seed is spread only short distances by wind.
Seed is spread longer distances by water, animals, machinery and
contaminated agricultural produce. Artichoke thistle can also be spread
via root fragments during cultivation of the soil. Artichoke thistle has
also been spread by the careless disposal of cut-flower waste.
Impacts of artichoke thistle
- Artichoke thistle is a serious weed of pasture and crops, and heavy infestations can reduce access to areas.
Where does artichoke thistle occur?
thistle is native to the Mediterranean region. Artichoke thistle is
naturalised in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and South
- Artichoke thistle has not naturalised in Tasmania.
Artichoke thistle has been recorded as a contaminant of imported
agricultural products and as a garden plant. Artichoke thistle has been
recorded at McRobies Gully tip in Hobart and at the former Bridgewater
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