Soldier thistle, native to southern Europe and south-western Asia is a prickly, upright, annual thistle usually growing to 50-75 cm tall but occasionally reaching 100 cm in height. It forms a basal rosette (cluster) of leaves during the early stages of growth. The rosette leaves are slightly lobed, with distinct short yellow spines, and grow to 30 cm long. The stems and leaves are densely covered in white hairs that give them a cobwebby or woolly appearance.
Soldier thistle competes with cereal crops and interferes with harvesting by clogging machinery. Its sharp spines can injure sheep, dogs and humans and decrease suitable grazing areas for stock.
Soldier thistle is a weed of roadsides, waste areas, channel banks, crops and pastures in temperate and occasionally also semi-arid environments.
It can be controlled by hand grubbing, cultivating, mowing, slashing or treating with herbicides before the flowering head develops.
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The requirements in the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 for a notifiable weed must be complied with