Cirsium neomexicanum – New Mexico Thistle

Cirsium neomexicanum - New Mexico Thistle, Desert Thistle

Cirsium neomexicanum - New Mexico Thistle, Desert Thistle

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Cirsium neomexicanum

Synonyms: Cirsium utahense, C. wallowense

Common Names: New Mexico Thistle, Desert Thistle

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Biennial, Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland

Flower Color: Pinkish purple to lavender, Pink, White

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer

Height: To 6 feet (1.8 m) tall

Description: The showy flowers are up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) across and are surrounded by spine-tipped bracts. The lower, outer floral bracts point downward, while the upper, inner bracts point upward and are somewhat twisted. The leaves are green, pinnately lobed, spiny, and up to 7 inches (18 cm) long.

Special Characteristics

Butterfly Plant – The flowers attract butterflies.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Cirsium Mill. – thistle
Species: Cirsium neomexicanum A. Gray – New Mexico thistle

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map