Pasture thistle

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Cirsium pumilum Spreng.; old C. odoratum (Muhl. ex W. Bartram) Petr.

Common name(s): pasture thistle, fragrant thistle

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)



-sweet smelling forb

-leaves are basal, alternate and deeply lobed

-spines and fine bristles

-head 1 1/2″-2″ wide

-purple disk flowers

– can reach up to 1′-3′ tall

-hollow roots

-may be confused with C. muticum; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage



-disturbed areas

-fields and meadows



Go Botany. “Cirsium Pumilum (Nutt.) Spreng.” Cirsium Pumilum (Pasture Thistle): Go Botany, 2020,

Wisconsin State University. “Cirsium Pumilum Var. Hillii.” Online Virtual Flora of Wisconsin , Wisconisn State Herbarium,