Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Cirsium neomexicanum


SPECIES: Cirsium neomexicanum
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Cirsium neomexicanum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : CIRNEO SYNONYMS : C. arcuum A. Nels [14] C. utahense (Muhl. ex. W.Barton) Petrak [17] SCS PLANT CODE : CINE COMMON NAMES : lavender thistle New Mexico thistle TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for lavender thistle is Cirsium neomexicanum Gray [8,14,19]. It is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The following varieties are recognized [19]: Cirsium neomexicanum var. neomexicanum Cirsium neomexicanum var. utahense (Petrak) Welsh LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cirsium neomexicanum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Lavender thistle is found in the desert areas of southern California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico [6,8,14]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES29 Sagebrush FRES30 Desert shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper STATES : AZ CA CO NM UT MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 7 Lower Basin and Range 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K024 Juniper steppe woodland K039 Blackbrush K040 Saltbush - greasewood K041 Creosotebush K042 Creosotebush - bursage K044 Creosotebush - tarbush SAF COVER TYPES : 238 Western juniper 239 Pinyon - juniper SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Lavender thistle is commonly found in creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) scrub, blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) scrub, shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), salt desert shrub, mountain brush, Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) woodlands, and pinyon (Pinus spp.)-juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands [12,16,19]. Lavender thistle is not listed as a dominant or codominant in the available literature.


SPECIES: Cirsium neomexicanum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Thistle (Cirsium spp.) seeds are the favorite food of goldfinches and many other birds. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees [21]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : The Navajo and Hopi Indians use thistles (Cirsium spp.) for medicinal purposes [8]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Lavender thistle is not a weedy species, unlike many other species of thistle [5]. Many insect species feed on lavender thistle. It hosts three endophagous insect species. Only the pyralid moth attacks the flowering heads. The artichoke plume moth attacks the stems and crowns of lavender thistle. Phytophagous insects associated with lavender thistle have been listed [5].


SPECIES: Cirsium neomexicanum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Lavender thistle is a native biennial herb [5,12,19]. It is robust, erect or ascending, moderately to much branched, and 5 to 8 feet (1.5-2.5 m) tall [14]. The basal leaves are oblong and form a rosette 2 to 10 inches (5-25 cm) broad [14,19]. The petioles of the lower leaves are narrowly winged and spiny and the upper leaves are sessile [14]. The dead stalks of the previous year persist for some time [19]. The flowering heads are solitary to few, at the end of a stem or branch [6]. The fruit is an achene with a bristly pappus 0.6 to 0.8 inch (1.5-2 cm) long [14]. It has a taproot. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Information is not available regarding the regeneration processes of lavender thistle. Because it is a biennial herb it probably only regenerates by seed. The genus Cirsium is widespread and variable so inferences about lavender thistle from other Cirsium species may not be valid. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Lavender thistle is commonly found in sandy to gravelly washes, and on dry, rocky slopes, mesas, canyon sides, and plains and foothills [5,6,12,14,18]. It occurs at the following elevations: southern California - 3,000 to 6,000 feet (900-1,800 m) [12] Colorado - 4,500 to 6,500 feet (1,400-2,000 m) [6] Arizona - 1,000 to 6,500 feet (300-2,000 m) [8] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : NO-ENTRY SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Lavender thistle usually flowers from April to May [5,12].


SPECIES: Cirsium neomexicanum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Regeneration of lavender thistle after fire is not described in the available literature. However, it probably can colonize burned areas via seeds. Fire frequency in the communities where lavender thistle occurs is generally low. In creosotebush scrub communities, fires generally occur only in years when exceptionally heavy winter rains have produced abnormally high numbers of annuals. Fires are also rare in blackbrush communities; however, these communities have been known to burn under conditions of high temperature, high wind velocity, and low relative humidity. Shadscale communities rarely burn [7]. Pinyon-juniper communities historically burned every 10 to 30 years. Where livestock grazing has reduced grass cover and accelerated erosion, fire frequency has decreased [20]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cirsium neomexicanum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Information is not available regarding the immediate effects of fire on lavender thistle. Most fires probably kill second-year plants of this biennial herb. First-year plants may survive late-season or low-severity fires. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : NO-ENTRY DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Cirsium neomexicanum
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