Flower and leaves. Photo: Don Wood, south coast, NSW

Plants. Australian Plant Image Index, photo: Murray Fagg, near Yass, NSW

Seeding plant. Australian Plant Image Index, photo: Murray Fagg, ACT

Rosette. Photo: Luigi Rignanese, Italy

Common Name

Variegated Thistle




Introduced biennial forb to 3m tall. Stems, leaves and flowers spiny. Leaves basal and alternating up the stems, flat, hairless or sparsely hairy or hairy, edges spiny. Basal leaves dissected and toothed, 25-60cm long, 120-300mm wide, with wavy edges. Stem leaves with basal lobes, stem clasping, to 30cm long, 20-200mm wide, divided or toothed. Flowerheads with numerous purple or reddish purple  ‘petals’, more or less globular, borne singly at the ends of the stems. Declared plant in SA. Noxious weed in Vic.

Description and line drawing in G.M. Cunningham, WE Mulham, PL Milthorpe and J H Leigh (1981 and later printings) Plants of Western New South Wales pages 724-725

PlantNET description:

Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition description: