Scientific Name:
Centaurea calcitrapa L.
Vernacular Name(s):
Star thistle

Biennial. Stems erect, weakly ribbed, branched, (15)–30–60 cm tall, with sparse to dense multicellular hairs. Lvs not decurrent on stems, with sparse to dense multicellular hairs; lower lvs deeply pinnatifid, 5–10 × 1.5–4 cm, with oblong to lanceolate or linear, toothed or lobed segments; upper lvs becoming smaller, sometimes simple. Capitula shortly stalked, not clustered. Involucre ovoid to cylindric, 5–8 mm diam.; outer and middle bracts elliptic to oblong, not veined, glabrous; appendages spreading, not covering bracts, spinous, slightly narrowed at junction with bract, not decurrent on bract; terminal spine 15–20 mm long, yellowish; lateral spines 2–3 on each side, 2–3 mm long, all at base of terminal spine. Florets pink to purple, the outer slightly radiate. Corolla with glandular papillae. Achenes c. 3 mm long, glabrous; pappus 0.

[From: Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]


Flowering: Nov.–Apr.–(May); Fruiting: Nov.–May.

Biosecurity New Zealand 2012: Regional Pest Management Strategies Database.