Centaurea solstitialis (weed)

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Centaurea solstitialis (Spain) (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Javier Martin
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Centaurea solstitialis (weed) L. - (yellow starthistle)

The weeds is native to southern Europe and now wide-spread in several temperate regions. It has invaded parts of South America, Australia and the rangelands of western North America (first record 1869). Dense infestations may contain up to 5 million plants per hectare. Livestock avoid grazing infested pastures due to the spiny flower-heads of the weed. Seeds are mainly dispersed by human activities like vehicles or through contaminated hay.

For management a combination of prescribed burning, herbicide application and reseeding of native broadleaf and grass species is recommended. The plant grows up to a height of about 1 m or more and has a taproot which may extend to a depth of up to 1 m. The lower leaves are 5-15 cm long while the upper leaves 1-3 cm. The flower-head has 1-2 cm long spines. The flowers are yellow and produce 2-3 mm long fruits, most of them with a pappus.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Sonnwend-Flockenblume
• English: yellow starthistle
• Español: abrepuño amarillo
starthistle Amarillo
• Français: centaurée du solstice

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.