Name: Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Other names: Canada thistle, lettuce from hell thistle, California thistle corn thistle, cursed thistle, field thistle, green thistle, hard thistle, perennial thistle, prickly thistle, small-flowered thistle, way thistle and stinger-needles.
Clades: Angiosperms, Eudicots, Asterids
Description: Cirsium arvense is a C3 carbon fixation plant. The C3 plants originated during Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras, and tend to thrive in areas where sunlight intensity is moderate, temperatures are moderate, and ground water is plentiful. C3 plants lose 97% of the water taken up through their roots to transpiration. Creeping thistle is a herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 150 cm, forming extensive clonal colonies from thickened roots that send up numerous erect shoots during the growing season. It is a ruderal species.
Distribution: Native throughout Europe and northern Asia, and widely introduced elsewhere.
Ecology: The seeds are an important food for the goldfinch and the linnet, and to a lesser extent for other finches. Creeping thistle foliage is used as a food by over 20 species of Lepidoptera, including the painted lady butterfly and the engrailed moth, and several species of aphids. The flowers are visited by a wide variety of insects (the generalized pollination syndrome).
Invasive Nature: The species is widely considered a weed even where it is native, for example being designated an "injurious weed" in the United Kingdom under the Weeds Act 1959. It is also a serious invasive species in many additional regions where it has been introduced, usually accidentally as a contaminant in cereal crop seeds. It is cited as a noxious weed in several countries; for example Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States. Many countries regulate this plant, or its parts (i.e., seed) as a contaminant of other imported products such as grains for consumption or seeds for propagation. In Canada, C. arvense is classified as a primary noxious weed seed in the Weed Seeds Order 2005 which applies to Canada's Seeds Regulations.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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