Saffron Thistle

Also known as:
Woolly Distaff Thistle, Distaff Thistle, Woolly Safflower
Europe, Asia

General description

Annual or biennial herb with branching, woody, hairy stems with numerous spines. Leaves glossy green with spiny teeth on rosette & smaller & alternate on stems. Yellow or cream flowers (Oct-Nov) at tips of branches, surrounded by spiny bracts. Seeds topped with silky hairs.

Poor pasture, cultivated paddocks, waste areas. Prefers semi-arid conditions with low soil fertility.

Seeds spread by wind, water, on animals or machinery

Form dense, impenetrable stands. Lowers pasture productivity & seeds contaminate wool.

Site management

Maintaining a vigorous pasture cover will deter establishment

Recommended approaches

1. Biological agents give some control.
2. Grub out small infestations.
3. Spot spray crowns (100ml glyphosate/10L or 60ml Tordon BK/10L or 25ml clopyralid/10L). Do not use clopyralid in home gardens.
4. Boom spray seedlings & small plants autumn - early winter (4L glyphosate/ha).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
saffron thistle - Main species image