Creeping Thistle or Cirsium arvense

Creeping thistle

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Creeping Thistle

Cirsium arvense
A very common fieldflower which spreads mostly by its rhizomes
through the soil , thus making it very hard to irridiate.
It is the commonest perennial weed of grassland and the
commonest of all the thistles. The Creeping thistle
will grow on every soil. Fertilizing that soil doesn't make
much difference in growth rate for the creeping thistles.
This herb can grow on soils that contain low Kalium (Potassium)
but low Phosfate levels.

The beautiful flower of the creeping thistle


Creeping thistle flowers from July until the end of September.


The creeping thistle knows two ways of propagation: 1 Propagation by seed. The seed shed in july until august may germinated in autumm. And the
creeing thistle produces a lot of seed. But most of the seeds stays
attached to the flowers. There they are good food for a lot of
birds. This way of germination is not very effectiv. Research shows
that the creeping thistle rarely produces offspring this way, and
if its does, the distance is mostly only 10 meters away, rarely 50 meter.
Thistle seedlings are sensitive to drought and early competition for light and will only have a change if the germinate in disturbed ground.
Creeping thistle seed can remain viable buried for more then 25 years.
2 Propagation by rhyzomes This is a very effectiv way of propagation. The Creeping thistle produces
rhyzomes that will grow deep under the surface, producing rhyzomes
more then 5 meters long. This way, a Creeping thistle can spread around
more then 10 meter each year.

forming of the seed of the creeping thistle

Weed management

There are different ways to contol the Creeping thistle.
1 Mowing the land. This prevents the flowering and seed production.
Mowing can best be done in july.
2 Removing by hand: This is only possible for small area's.
3 Ploughing the land will destroy the rhizomes.
4 Grazing the young roots by cattle is by far less effectiv ,
as cattle avoid eating mature thistles.
Omly some stock will eat mature thistle like Schoonebeeks sheep,
goats and donkeys.
5 covering the ground with black plastic. This can be done on small
parts of the land. Vegetables are planted in hole in the plastic.
6 Covering the earth with a dense crop. The seedlings of the
creeping thistle are not very competativ with other crops
that grow dense.
7 biological weed management , there is a catarpillar , a mot and
a fungus that attack the creeping thistle.

Roadside verges

The Creeping thistle occupies about 0,25% of the total
amount of roadside verges.
By mowing the roadside verges twice a year in June and
september, this amount won't increase.

A common copper on the flower
of the creeping thistle .
The flower has a strong resemblence on the flowers of:
Pincushion flower, field scabious and Sheep's bit.
The leaves of the creeping thistle have stickels.
A photo of

Creepimg thistle