Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. - ASTERACEAE - Dicotyledon

Common name : Creeping thistle
Common name in Hindi : Kandai
Common name in Urdu : Leh, Bhurbhur

Habit - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad Inflorescences in heads - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad Pink flowers - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad Fruits surmounted by plumose pappus - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad Leaves with alternate arrangement - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad Leaves with spiny-toothed margins - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad The bottom of the leaves is white - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad The upper surface of the leaves is dark green - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad Tap root - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad Seedling - © Juliana PROSPERI - Cirad

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Diagnostic characters Biology Ecology and distribution Nuisance Weed control Botany Uses/Remark References

Diagnostic characters :

Cirsium arvense is an herbaceous, annual or perennial, growing from 40cm to more than 1 meter in height. It is characterized by spiny leaves and pink flowers. It has a powerful root system from which new shoots are produced at irregular intervals. It is recognised by its characteristic of growing in circular patches with each patch usually constituting of only one clone and, in some cases, of only female or male.

Biology :

The plumed achene is assumed by some to be the mechanism of long-distance dispersal, but other evidence indicates that many plumes are broken from achenes which remain in the head. This species perpetuates both through perennial roots and seeds. In Pakistan the flowering and fruiting period is from March to April.

Ecology and distribution :

One plant can colonize an area several meters in diameter during the first one or two seasons of growth. In Pakistan, this species is present in Punjab region particularly in arid to semi arid conditions. Also found along the field boundaries and water courses.

Nuisance :

It is certainly that the herbicides have been created the first time to eliminate this weed particularly dynamic. It has been reported as a weed in 27 crops and 37 countries. It constitutes the worst thistle problem of many cool and warm temperate regions. In pastures it reduce forage consumption, for cattle will not graze near either tall or spreading plants because of the sharp spines on the leaves. In Pakistan, principally found in wheat crops.

Weed control :

- Chemical
Post-emergence application of 2_4-D at 500 g/ha or Metsulfuron at 4 g/ha. In wheat crop, application by spray at early post-emergence of Buctril M-40EC.

Botany :

Is an erect, perennial herb with extensive creeping, white or yellowish, horizontal rhizomes up to 5 m or longer.
The tap root has 2 to 5m in depth, with an extensive system of fibrous absorbing rootlets.
Erect, grooved, 40 to 120cm tall, nearly glabrous or slightly hairy when young, increasingly hairy with age, arising from numerous buds on the horizontal rhizomes.
Alternate, oblong or lanceolate, usually with crinkled edges and spiny-toothed margins, very irregularly lobed, terminating in a spine, hairy beneath or smooth when mature; upper leaves sessile but only slightly decurrent, the narrowed base continuing down the stem beyond the point of leaf attachment, giving the impression of spiny stem.
Heads dioecious (male and female flowers in separate heads), corymblike clusters, terminal and axillary, 2 to 2.5cm in diameter; involucre 1 to 2cm high, bracts numerous, overlapping, spineless. Staminate heads oblong, pistillate heads ovoid or flask-shaped. Receptacle bristly, chaffy.
Achene oblong, smooth, shiny, finely grooved lengthwise, curved or straight, more or less four-angled, flattened, apex with a characteristic conical point on the center, 2.5 to 4mm long, light to dark brown, surmounted by a pappus. Pappus plumose, of white or rather brownish, feathery hairs, 2mm long, easily separating from the achene (deciduous), leaving a small projection at the apex of the achene.
One seed connected to the pericarp at only one point.
Cotyledon elliptic, large and nearly sessile. The first leaves are pale green, lanceolate, sessile with spiny margin. The nervation forms a white network very visible. At 4 or 5 leaves stage, the young root has several buds that will develop future plants.

Uses/Remark :

References :

- Holm L. G., Plucknett D. L., Pancho J. V., Herberger J. P. 1991. The world’s worst weeds. Distribution and Biology. East-West Center by the University Press. Hawaii.
- Nayyar M. M., Ashiq M. and Ahmad J. 2001. Manual on Punjab weeds (Part I). Directorate of Agronomy. Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad Pakistan.

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