bighead knapweed
Centaurea macrocephala Puschk. ex Willd.


Centaurea macrocephala is a large, perennial herb that grows on sturdy root stock and can reach 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall. Various common names including Lemon Fluff, Globe Centaury and Pineapple Thistle.
Broadly lance-shaped leaves with sharp, pointed tips are rough to the touch and up to 15 in. (38.1 cm) long at the base of the plant.
Single, showy, bright yellow flower head at tops of stems. Bracts (found under the flower head) are golden brown and fringed. Flowering occurs from July to September.
Reproduces by seed which can be spread by wind, passing animals, humans, vehicles or equipment. It can re-sprout from woody root crown.
Ecological Threat
Centaurea macrocephala will out-compete grasses and other forage species, reducing food sources for wildlife and livestock. It is very difficult to remove once established. It is native to Turkey.


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Centaurea
Subject: Centaurea macrocephala Puschk. ex Willd.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
big yellow centaurea, big-headed knapweed


Plants - Forbs/Herbs