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Where and What is Canada Thistle?

The origination is believed to have come from the eastern Mediterranean region. This thistle is notorious for draining nutrients from the soil around them, so they can be very damaging to pastures and crops. Canada Thistle is also known as “Creeping Thistle”.

A very invasive weed that produces a deep tap root up to 6 feet long and reproduces through perennial creeping rhizomes and abundant seed production, that will take over entire fields and render the land useless to native wildlife and plants. The lateral roots “underground” can grow as much as 12 feet in a year and new plants can also regenerate from root fragments. The plant has small purple flower heads found in clusters. This perennial can reach up to 5 feet tall.

Even though, Canada Thistle is difficult to control, it is not all bad. It is a good value as a wildflower. There are few that can surpass thistles in their value for bees and pollinators. It is common to see butterflies nectaring on thistles and goldfinches like the seeds.

To remove Canada Thistle plant simply snip it off at the base. Do not pull Canada Thistle out, as this can split the root, which causes two Canada Thistles to grow back. Check the location weekly and snip off any new growth that you may see. Most good quality herbicides will kill this weed also.