Cirsium vulgare

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeCirsiumCirsium vulgare


A monocarpic perennial occurring in a wide array of habitats, including overgrazed pastures and rough grassland, sea-cliffs, dunes, drift lines and well-drained, fertile, disturbed habitats including arable fields, spoil heaps, waste ground and burnt areas in woodland. 0-685 (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth), and exceptionally at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1103

Life form information

Height (cm): 150

Perennation - primary

Biennial, including monocarpic perennials

Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2789

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 980

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: 0.8

Weighted Changed Factor: -44

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (288c)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Klinkhamer PGL, de Jong TG
1993.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 176. Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten. Journal of Ecology. 81:177-191.
Meusel H, Jäger EJ
1992.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.