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Centaurea melitensis L.
Maltese Cockspur

Sp.Pl. 2:917 (1753)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status

Erect annual or biennial, herb, 0.2-1 m high. Fl. yellow, Sep to Dec or Jan to Mar. Weed of roadsides, cultivated areas & other disturbed areas.

Amanda Spooner, Descriptive Catalogue, 23 April 1997


IBRA Regions
Avon Wheatbelt, Carnarvon, Coolgardie, Esperance Plains, Geraldton Sandplains, Hampton, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Murchison, Nullarbor, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren, Yalgoo.
IBRA Subregions
Eastern Goldfield, Eastern Mallee, Eastern Murchison, Edel, Fitzgerald, Geraldton Hills, Hampton, Katanning, Lesueur Sandplain, Mardabilla, Merredin, Northern Jarrah Forest, Nullarbor Plain, Perth, Recherche, Southern Cross, Southern Jarrah Forest, Tallering, Warren, Western Mallee, Western Murchison, Wooramel.
IMCRA Regions
Leeuwin-Naturaliste, Shark Bay, Zuytdorp.
Local Government Areas (LGAs)
Busselton, Cambridge, Canning, Capel, Carnamah, Carnarvon, Cockburn, Coolgardie, Cranbrook, Cue, Cunderdin, Dalwallinu, Dandaragan, Dowerin, Dundas, Esperance, Gingin, Goomalling, Gosnells, Irwin, Jerramungup, Kalamunda, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kellerberrin, Koorda, Kulin, Lake Grace, Leonora, Mandurah, Manjimup, Menzies, Merredin, Murchison, Murray, Narembeen, Northam, Northampton, Perenjori, Plantagenet, Ravensthorpe, Rockingham, Shark Bay, Swan, Wagin, Wanneroo, Waroona, West Arthur, Westonia, Williams, Wongan-Ballidu, Wyalkatchem, Yalgoo, Yilgarn, York.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

General Biology. Reproduction. Reproduces by seed. Seeds fall close to the plant and can be dispersed a short distance by wind.. Dispersal. Seeds are commonly dispersed further by people, animals, water and soil movement.. Seedbank persistence. Few seeds survive past 4 years but can survive up to 10 years under optimum conditions..

Notes. An erect, yellow flowered, lobed leaf, annual thistle with striped, rough stems up to 1 m tall that have spineless wings near the top. The bracts below the flower head each have short often reddish spine..

Additional information. Origin. Native to the Mediterranean Region.

Suggested method of management and control. Removal methods such as hand-pulling should reduce and possibly eliminate the infestation. Make sure to remove as much of the taproot as possible. The best time to pull plants is before they have produced viable seed, so before they flower. Repeatedly hoeing plants can be effective at controlling small areas. Bag and dispose carefully of the pulled plants as the flowerheads can be self-fertilizing and can produce viable seed. 2,4-D, Rate: 1 to 1.5 pt product/acre for small rosettes, 2 to 4 pt product/acre for large plants. Glyphosate, Spot Treatment 1% to 2% v/v solution. Chemical Control best timing post emergence from bolting to beginning of flowering. 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     Y Y Y Y Y            
Flowering Y O O           Y Y Y Y  

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