Cirsium occidentale var venustum

Venus thistle

Plant Type: Perennial
Sun: Partial Shade, Sun
Drainage: Adaptable
Water: Occasional
Height X Width: 3' X 2'
Santa Clara County Local: Yes
What do these mean?

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The cobweb thistle, Cirsium occidentale, is native to most of California and many parts of the west. It is found in several varieties. The venustum variety, the venus thistle, is widespread in the state and is common to Bay Area mountains. In its first year, the venus thistle produces a low-growing whirl of silvery green, spiny leaves. In the second year a large flower stock appears, growing to about three feet or so with numerous bright red flowers. The venus thistle seems to die after its second year. However, if the seeds are allowed to mature, the venus thistle will produce many volunteers, forming a dispersed patch without becoming weedy. This thistle thrives in a variety of soil types and drainages, and prefers a sunny setting.


Deer Resistant: Yes
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: No
Evergreen or Deciduous: Deciduous