• Malta Starthistle Flower1 215x150

Category A Weed

Sunflower family (Asteraceae)

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Malta starthistle (Centaurea melitensis)


    • 1-3 ft. tall, stiff, wiry and usually branched; wings (less than 0.1 in. wide) created by leaf bases that extend down the stem


      • Gray-green, 0.75-6 in. long and densely covered with fine hairs

      • Rosette leaves are oval to strap-like (linear) with smooth to deeply lobed edges (margins); stem leaves are alternate, strap-like to oblong with smooth, toothed or wavy edges


        • Yellow, located at branch tips or axils in groups of 1-3; base of flower is vase-shaped, 0.3-0.6 in. diameter and covered with cotton-like hairs and stout, purple-to-brown colored spines (0.2- 0.6 in. long)


          • Shallow taproot


            • Often infests rangeland, pastures, crop fields, waste areas and roadsides; known to occur in Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties

            • Annual; reproduces by seed

            • ¬†Also known as tocalote


              • Grazing, mowing, burning and cultivation can be effective if done prior to seed production

              • Apply aminopyralid, 2,4-D, clopyralid or dicamba from rosette through bolting; apply picloram from rosette through bud stages