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Berkheya rigida (Thunb.) Bolus & Wolley-Dod
African Thistle

Trans.S.African Philos.Soc. 14:289 (1904)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status

Erect perennial, herb, 0.3-0.6 m high. Fl. yellow, Oct to Dec or Jan to May. Coastal sand.

Amanda Spooner, Descriptive Catalogue, 21 April 1997


IBRA Regions
Swan Coastal Plain.
IBRA Subregions
IMCRA Regions
Local Government Areas (LGAs)
Augusta Margaret River, Bunbury, Busselton, Perth.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

Alternative Names. Berkheya Thistle, Hamelin Thistle, Augusta Thistle.

General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Perennial. Reproduction. Primarily seed, also stem and root fragments. Dispersal. Adhesion, soil. Seedbank persistence. Medium/long term.

Notes. Has an extended flowering period if sufficient moisture is available. Top growth dies with the onset of early autumn and/or drought. In late autumn new rosettes arise from the old crown or rhizome buds. Not grazed. Unlike other thistles, seeds lack the mechanisms for wind dispersal. Local spread occurs via creeping undergrond stems (rhizomes) and/or layering. Forms a persistent soil seedbank. Large infestations can impede access. Declared weed in Western Australia and Tasmania.

Additional information. Origin. South Africa. History of use/introduction. Ship ballast.

Suggested method of management and control. Dig out and destroy single plants before flowering. As much of the rhizome as possible should also be removed. For larger infestations, try Lontrel® 10 ml/10 L + wetting agent at early rosette stage otherwise use 0.5% glyphosate. Spring application before flowering is usually the most successful. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Germination           U U U          
Active Growth Y Y O O Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  
Flowering Y Y Y Y Y         Y Y Y  
Fruiting Y Y Y Y Y Y           Y  
Manual Removal O O O O O Y Y Y Y Y Y O  
Herbicide Treatment               Y Y Y      

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



  • Blood, K. (2001) Environmental weeds: a field guide for SE Australia. C.H. Jerram and Associates, Melbourne.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Moore, C.B. & Moore, J.H. (2002) Herbiguide, the pesticide expert on a disk. Herbiguide, PO Box 44 Albany, Western Australia, 6330.
  • Parsons, W.T. & Cuthbertson, E.G. (2001) Noxious weeds of Australia. 2nd Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
  • Tasmania Weed Alert Network (Undated) Weed Info Sheet: African Thistle. URL:$FILE/twan_Africanthistle.pdf - Accessed August 2010.