Creeping Thistle - Cirsium arvense


Medium to tall stoloniferous plant, stem usually branched, but not winged or spiny. Leaves lanceolate to oblong, pinnately lobed or unlobed, spiny, the upper leaves unstalked. Flowerheads pale purple or lilac, 15 to 25 mm, fragrant, solitary or from 2 to 5 together, stalked.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Lighter pink that most other thistles, and stem not winged, or with very short wings. As with all Cirsium, the pappus-hairs (the silky white hairs attached to the seed - the thistledown) are individually feathery or branched.


Meadows, arable land, roadsides and waste places.

When to see it

June to September.

Life History


UK Status

Very common throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 606 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map