Herb: Tuberous Thistle

Latin name: Cirsium tuberosum

Synonyms: Carduus bulbosum, Carduus tuberosus, Cnicus tuberosus

Family: Compositae

Edible parts of Tuberous Thistle:

Root - cooked. It can be stored overwinter. A slight bitterness but acceptable, it makes a reasonable cooked vegetable. Sometimes, however, the root seems to be very aromatic and is then less than pleasant. The root is rich in inulin, a starch that cannot be digested by humans. This starch thus passes straight through the digestive system and, in some people, ferments to produce flatulence.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Damp grassland on calcareous soils.

Other uses of Tuberous Thistle:

The seed fluff is used as a tinder. The seed of all species of thistles yields a good oil by expression. No details of potential yields etc are given.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early spring or autumn in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 8 weeks at 20C. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Cultivation of Tuberous Thistle:

Damp grassland on calcareous soils.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Cirsium tuberosum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.