Click on images to enlarge
dense infestation (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, USGS)
infestation of old plants (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
habit (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, USGS)
habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of winged stem and upper leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
flower-heads (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of yellow flower-head showing spine-tipped bracts (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of mature flower-head with seeds (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
large infestation (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, USGS)
close-up of mature flower-head from side-on (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
Centaurea melitensis L.
Asteraceae (Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory)Compositae (South Australia)
cockspur thistle, Malta star-thistle, Malta starthistle, Malta thistle, Maltese centaury, Maltese cockspur, Maltese star thistle, Maltese star-thistle, Maltese starthistle, Maltese thistle, Napa star thistle, Napa thistle, saucy Jack, star thistle, tocolote, tocalote star thistle, wild Irishman, yellow burr cockspur, yellow cockspur, yellow star thistle
Native to the Mediterranean Region (i.e. the Azores, the Canary Islands, Algeria, north-western Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, France, Portugal and Spain).
Widely naturalised in Australia (i.e. throughout Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria and South Australia, and also in parts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania). Also naturalised on Norfolk Island and previously also on Lord Howe Island.
Naturalised overseas in the USA and Hawaii.
Although this species is mainly regarded as a weed of disturbed sites and agricultural areas (i.e. crops and pastures), it also invades rangelands, grasslands, open woodlands and other disturbed natural habitats. It is therefore also regarded as an environmental weed in several states (i.e. Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland). During a recent survey, it was listed as a priority environmental weed in at least one Natural Resource Management region.
In South Australia, Maltese cockspur (Centaurea melitensis) is regarded as being invasive in intact native vegetation with a moderate potential to reduce native species diversity. It is present in several conservation areas in this state (e.g. Coorong National Park, Lincoln National Park and Marino Conservation Park) and is one of the most common introduced species in the Flinders Ranges region. Maltese cockspur (Centaurea melitensis) is also seen as a threat to several bioregions in Victoria.
Internationally, it is also listed in the Global Invasive Species Database because of its highly competitive nature and ability to form dense, impenetrable, stands that displace native vegetation.
Fact sheets are available from Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) service centres and our Customer Service Centre (telephone 13 25 23). Check our website at www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au to ensure you have the latest version of this fact sheet. The control methods referred to in this fact sheet should be used in accordance with the restrictions (federal and state legislation, and local government laws) directly or indirectly related to each control method. These restrictions may prevent the use of one or more of the methods referred to, depending on individual circumstances. While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this information, DEEDI does not invite reliance upon it, nor accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused by actions based on it.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved. Identic Pty Ltd. Special edition of Environmental Weeds of Australia for Biosecurity Queensland.
The mobile application of Environmental Weeds of Australia is available from the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.