Malta starthistle USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: CEME2
Centaurea melitensis L.
Synonym(s): Maltese star-thistle, Malta starthistle, Maltese star thistle, Napa thistle, spotted knapweed, tocalote

Centaurea melitensis is a winter annual with a yellow-flowered, spiny head that can reach a height of 3.3 ft. (1 m). tall.
Leaves are alternate, linear or narrowly oblong with smooth, toothed margins. Leaf bases are decurrent and give the stems a winged appearance.
Flowers are yellow, 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) across, and surrounded by sharp, tan, 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long, spiny cobwebbed bracts. Blooming occurs from April to September.
The fruit are 0.08-0.12 in. (2-3 mm) in length, grayish to tan in color with deeply notched bases and tan bristles that are 0.04-0.12 in. (1-3 mm) long.
Ecological Threat
Centaurea melitensis prefers disturbed areas such as grasslands, open woodlands, roadsides, fields, and pastures. It is native to Europe and North America.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources