Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans_Musk Thistle_JM DiTomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Common names: musk thistle; giant plumeless thistle; nodding (plumeless) thistle;

Carduus nutans (musk thistle) is a biennial or winter annual (family Asteraceae) found in disturbed open sites, roadsides, pastures, annual grasslands, and waste areas, but is mostly limited to the Klamath and Cascade Ranges, northern Sierra Nevada, and Modoc Plateau in California. Previous populations in southern California were eradicated.

Rating: Moderate

Cal-IPC Resources

  • Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.
  • CalWeedMapper - Statewide maps, climate models, and reports.
  • Cal-IPC News - Our quarterly newsletter. Each issue is available as a pdf.
  • Cal-IPC Symposium Proceedings - Presentations and papers from our annual Symposium.
  • Don't Plant a Pest! - Select your region to find non-invasive alternatives to ornamental species. Also see our statewide brochure on trees.

    Other Resources

    Symposium Presentations

    • Smith, R. L., V. F. Carrithers, et al. (2006). Managing rangeland invasive plants with Aminopyralid (MilestoneTM). Cal-IPC Symposium. Rohnert Park, CA.
    • Carrithers, V., B. Miller, et al. (2005). Aminopyralid: A new reduced risk active ingredient for control of broadleaf invasive and noxious weeds. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
    • Smith, L., M. Cristofaro, et al. (2005). Status of new agents for biological control of yellow starthistle and Russian thistle. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
    • Donaldson, S., W. West, et al. (2003). Getting the job done: Working within the regulatory environment at Lake Tahoe to manage weeds. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
    • O'Connell, R. A. (1999). The state of California's noxious weed eradication programs. California Exotic Pest Plant Council. Sacramento, CA.
    • Pitcairn, M. J. and D. M. Woods (1998). Control methods: Biological control. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '98. Ontario, CA.
    • Carrithers, V. F. (1997). Using Transline* herbicide to control invasive plants. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '97. Concord, CA.
    • DiTomaso, J. M. (1997). Risk analysis of various weed control methods. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '97. Concord, CA.
    • O'Connell, R. A. (1997). Hydrilla: A case study: The state of California's noxious weed eradication programs. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '97. Concord, CA.
    • Chornesky, E. A. and C. M. Palmer (1995). Use of biologically based methods to control pest plants:Issues related to federal research, regulation, and implementation. Proceedings California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '95. Pacific Grove, CA.

    Cal-IPC News Articles

    • Brusati, E., D. Morawitz, et al. (2011). Prioritizing Regional Response to Invasive Plants in the Sierra Nevada. Cal-IPC News. 19: 4, 5, 10.
    • Richardson, B. (2004). The A-rated north. Cal-IPC News. 12: 4-5,14.
    • Donaldson, S. (2003). Fighting weeds in the Tahoe basin. CalEPPC News. 11: 7.
    • Pitcairn, M. (2000). All weeds that have approved biological control agents, accidental introductions and others. CalEPPC News. 8.