NATIVE RANGE: Southeast Europe (Balkan peninsula)
FIRST FINDING IN SLOVENIA: 2002
PATHWAYS: hitchhiker with vehicles, secondary spread by wind
POSSIBLE TO FIND: year-round
FLOWERING SEASON: July – August
DESCRIPTION: Herbaceous plant with a markedly branched stem which develops from the first year leaf rosette. The whole plant is very spiny. Leaves are shiny, light green, spinose, with yellowish-white (almost translucent) spines on the margins. Small flowers are clustered in pale yellow, drooping flower heads 1.5–2 cm wide. The fruit is a small achene, up to 5 mm long with a pappus 13–16 mm long, dispersed by the wind.
HABITAT: Dry, rocky soils, especially in montane areas and along roads. For now, within its introduced range, it is appearing on construction sites, roadsides and sometimes in open forests.
STATUS: In recent years found in Croatia. In Slovenia, first found in 2002 in the industry zone of Logatec and in subsequentt years in several localities in the wide surroundings of this site as well as further in the Dinaric region of Slovenia. and Slovenia. Native to southeast Europe.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Some other species of thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) are similar. European native yellow thistle (Cirsium erisithales) has similar drooping yellow flower heads but the stem is mostly unbranched and has only few leaves in the upper part.