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© 2002, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides L.) is one of seven noxious weeds in Nebraska. An introduced invasive broadleaf weed native to Europe and Asia, plumeless thistle currently infests about 65,000 acres in Nebraska. Infestations of plumeless thistle may reduce productivity of pastures and rangeland, where infestations tend to be the largest. Plumeless thistle competes with and suppresses growth of desirable species. Heavy infestations prevent livestock from grazing the area and lighter infestations prevent livestock from eating plants growing near the thistle. Estimates place the annual loss in Nebraska agricultural production due to plumeless thistle at $162,000. Although plumeless thistle is more limited in distribution than its close relative the musk thistle (Carduus nutans L.), the infestations require landowners and producers in Nebraska to spend thousands of dollars each year for control.