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Cirsium ochrocentrum

Cirsium ochrocentrum is a species of thistle known by the common name yellowspine thistle. It is native to the Great Plains of the Central United States and the Southwestern United States.


The plant is a perennial herb growing up to 1 metre (3.3 ft) tall, with one to twenty white woolly stems per plant.

The leaves are generally deeply lobed and the lobes cut into sharp teeth. The longest leaves at the base of the plant are up to about 25 centimeters long. The leaves are spiny, with spines up to 1.5 centimeters long.

The inflorescence produces several flower heads, each lined with hard, toothed phyllaries tipped with spines. The head contains white, pink, or lavender flowers.

The fruit is an achene with a brown body nearly a centimeter long topped with a pappus which may be 3 centimeters long.


Among the Zuni people, an infusion of the plant taken by both partners as a contraceptive.[1] An infusion of whole plant is also taken as a diaphoretic, diuretic, and emetic to treat syphilis.[2][3] An infusion of the fresh or dried root is taken three times a day for diabetes.[4]

It is a weed in California and Northwestern Mexico. It grows in fields and disturbed areas such as roadsides.


  1. ^ Camazine, Scott and Robert A. Bye 1980 A Study Of The Medical Ethnobotany Of The Zuni Indians of New Mexico. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2:365-388 (p.374)
  2. ^ Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p.44-45)
  3. ^ Camazine and Bye, p.374
  4. ^ Camazine and Bye, p.374


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