Golden thistle occurs as a weed of pastures and is rarely eaten by livestock due to its spiny nature and because dense infestations are almost impenetrable.
Golden thistle is native to Mediterranean regions.
Seeds can be spread by wind, or on broken plants stuck to fibres or moving in water. New plants can also grow from root fragments which can be spread in fodder and on machinery.
Golden thistle is a biennial or perennial thistle up to 80 centimetres high, spiny and sometimes hairy.
This species is different to spotted thistle (also known as spotted golden thistle, Scolymus maculatus) which is a common weed of pastures and cleared areas.
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The requirements in the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 for a notifiable weed must be complied with