Cirsium hillii
Hill's thistle
Image of Cirsium hillii

Photo by Phyllis Higman 

More Images

Key Characteristics

Short, stout perennial thistle (30-60 cm) of pine barrens, oak savanna, prairie, forest openings, and glade habitats; young plants appearing only as a basal rosette with very shallowly lobed leaves; flower a single large pink head.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S3
  • Global Rank: G3

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alcona212005
Berrien21932
Cass21932
Cheboygan41973
Chippewa152011
Clare11996
Crawford482008
Grand Traverse52005
Hillsdale11985
Iosco192007
Jackson11896
Kalamazoo11947
Kalkaska122005
Lake202014
Macomb11896
Manistee182011
Mason122007
Menominee21986
Montmorency162008
Muskegon11900
Newaygo32007
Oakland11896
Oceana32009
Ogemaw72004
Oscoda502006
Otsego102002
Presque Isle31961
Roscommon72005
St. Clair11904
Van Buren21939
Wexford42007
Distribution map for Cirsium hillii

Updated 7/21/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Found primarily in pine barrens in northern Lower Michigan, but also occurring in other savanna and prairie types, openings within coniferous and oak forests, and on limestone pavement.

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Big and little bluestem, blazing star, rough fescue, pale agoseris, Alleghany plum, harebell, juniper, poverty grass, hair grass, western sunflower, Allegheny plum, prairie dropseed, cat's foot, Canadian milk vetch, sedges, Indian paintbrush, field chickweed, bastard toad flax, prairie smoke, ground juniper, bee-balm, and old field goldenrod.

Management

Natural disturbance, particularly fire, is necessary to maintain the openings in pine barrens and other associated habitat required by this species. Plants may persist as vegetative rosettes in the absence of disturbance, and have been observed under relatively mature tree canopies, including pine plantations. However, openings are required to promote flowering, and fire also likely plays a key role in reducing litter and creating habitat for germination and colonization. This species thrives on moderate levels of soil disturbance such as light disking or furrowing, though such activities are detrimental to most other rare plants associated with barrens.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Aug 23, 2017]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract

References

Survey References

Technical References

Facebook link