The Red Thistle -

Namesake Wildflower of

The Red Thistle Dancers

Cirsium Occidentale, the "Red Thistle" or "Venus Thistle"

The namesake of The Red Thistle Dancers, the real red thistles, Cirsium arizonicum and Cirsium occidentale ("Cobweb thistle" or "Venus thistle") are species of thistle native throughout California's mountain ranges, valleys, and coastal deserts. 

Using a classic symbol of Scottish heritage, the thistle, The Red Thistle Dancers take their name from this brightly and unusually colored California native thistle found near their home base of the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

See below for our growing collection of red thistle species and an additional gallery of "found" thistles of many colors, spotted by our own Red Thistle Dancers and friends on their travels and excursions.  

 

Send us yours and we'll add it to the collection!

 

Red Thistle Species Gallery

(click for a detailed view)

Cirsium ehrenbergii
Cirsium ehrenbergii

Photo by techalotl

Cirsium coulteri
Cirsium coulteri

Coulter's thistle

Cirsium breweri
Cirsium breweri

Brewer's thistle

Cirsium occidentale var. Venustum
Cirsium occidentale var. Venustum

Venus Thistle

Cirsium occidentale var. lucianum
Cirsium occidentale var. lucianum

Santa Lucia thistle

Cirsium occidentale
Cirsium occidentale

Cobweb thistle

Cirsium occidentale var candidissium
Cirsium occidentale var candidissium

Snowy thistle

Cirsium douglasii var. douglasii
Cirsium douglasii var. douglasii

Douglas' thistle

Cirsium douglasii
Cirsium douglasii

Swamp thistle

Cirsium arizonicum var. arizonicum
Cirsium arizonicum var. arizonicum

Arizona thistle

Cirsium andersonii
Cirsium andersonii

Anderson's thistle

Cirisum occidentale var. compatum
Cirisum occidentale var. compatum
Cirsium Ochrocentrum
Cirsium Ochrocentrum

Yellowspine Thistle

Cirisum occidentale
Cirisum occidentale

Cobweb or Venus thistle. Photo courtesy of Garry Hayes.

Cirsium horridulum
Cirsium horridulum

A yellow thistle with a red variant.

Cirsium arizonicaum rothrockii
Cirsium arizonicaum rothrockii
cirsium arizonum bipinattum
cirsium arizonum bipinattum
Cirsium arizonicum
Cirsium arizonicum
Cirsium arizonicum
Cirsium arizonicum
Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’
Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’

Found Thistle Gallery

A montage of found, cultivated, or artistically inspired thistle photography

from The Red Thistle Dancers and thistle-hunting friends

 

 

 
September (2019)

September (2019)

Thistle manhole cover in Toyama, Japan photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

September (2019)

September (2019)

Thistle manhole cover in Toyama, Japan photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

Jul (2019)

Jul (2019)

Spear thistle from the Ring of Kerry, Ireland photo courtesy of Sue Anderson

August (2017)

August (2017)

Thistle at 7000 feet along the North Fork of the San Joaquin River Photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

October (2016)

October (2016)

Found thistle and pinecone at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

August (2016)

August (2016)

Alpine thistle at ~8500 ft in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains Photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

July (2016)

July (2016)

Kew Gardens thistle being visited by busy bees. Photo courtesy of Sue Anderson

August (2016)

August (2016)

Siskiyou County, California thistle Photo courtesy of Wanda Welbourn

August (2016)

August (2016)

Siskiyou County, California thistle Photo courtesy of Wanda Welbourn

August (2016)

August (2016)

Norwegian thistle Photo courtesy of Sue Anderson

Scandinavian Thistle (2016)

Scandinavian Thistle (2016)

Swedish thistle Photo courtesy of Mikkel Thompson

Thistle Metalwork (2015)

Thistle Metalwork (2015)

An ironwork red thistle on entrance passage at Waverly Train Station in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

Thistle Metalwork (2015)

Thistle Metalwork (2015)

A wrought iron "patio panel" from a Bed & Breakfast on the isle of South Uist. Note how the thistle and St. Andrew's cross merge. Photo courtesy of Sue Anderson

Scotch Thistle (2015)

Scotch Thistle (2015)

Scotch thistle from the Hebridean isle of Barra. Photo courtesy of Sue Anderson

Red Thistle (2015)

Red Thistle (2015)

Found red thistle on the Whitney Crest Trail, leading to Mount Whitney. Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada in California, with an elevation of 14,505 feet. Thistle found between the 3100 and 3200 meter elevation. This thistle was found by one of our Red Thistle Dancers. Photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

Red Thistle (2015)

Red Thistle (2015)

Found red thistle on the Whitney Crest Trail, leading to Mount Whitney. Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada in California, with an elevation of 14,505 feet. Thistle found between the 3100 and 3200 meter elevation. This thistle was found by one of our Red Thistle Dancers. Photo courtesy of Kevin Lesko

Cobweb Thistle (2015)

Cobweb Thistle (2015)

Cobweb Thistle (Cirsium Occidentale), grown in backyard, Palo Alto, CA, by Jennifer Kelly. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Kelly

The Red  Thistle Dancers

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