Bull Thistle - Cirsium vulgare

Bull Thistle is a deep-rooted biennial. This weed is found throughout the United States. Primarily growing in pastures and roadside ditches. Its numerous prickly spines make this weed an unwelcome guest in lawns.

The leaves appear as a rosette the first year – especially when mowed. Flowering stem appears in the second year.

You can differentiate this weed from Musk Thistle by its hairy leaves. Mature Musk Thistle leaves usually lack hairs.


  • Biennial
  • Spreads by seeds
  • Prickly spines on leaves and stems and flower bracts
  • Serrated, hairy leaves
  • Leaves alternate along the flowering stem
  • Flowers are 1 1/2″ to 2″ wide – pink to purple
  • Flowers from June to October

Bull Thistle growing near fence pre flower
Bull thistle illustration
Bull Thistle patch flowering
Bull thistle flower

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