Chicago Illinois Field Office
Pitcher's Thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)
This pink-flowered thistle is specialized for life in sand dunes around the shores of the western Great Lakes. Habitat modification and fragmentation caused local populations to decline, and it was listed as Threatened in 1988.
Historical Records for this Species in Northeast Illinois are available from Lake County, Illinois.
Historically, this species' range also included lakeshore dune and swale communities in the Chicago region. While much of this kind of habitat has been replaced by an urbanized landscape, some high-quality dune and swale remnants, and suitable habitat for Pitcher's thistle still occur along the Lake Michigan shoreline of Lake County, Illinois.
In the Chicago region, we work with land managers and others who have an interest in this species. We have funded a multi-partner experimental re-introduction project and studies of population ecology in Lake County, Illinois. Participants included staff from the Morton Arboretum, Chicago State University, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Pitcher's thistle (Cirsium pitcheri):
Listed as threatened in 1988. Listing and recovery literature and informaiton include:
Complete regulatory profile, as provided on the Service's Endangered Species website.
Final rule listing the species (.pdf format), published in The Federal Register (53 FR 27137-27141), July 18, 1988.
Pitcher's thistle Recovery plan approved in 2002.
Article on Chicago-area restoration efforts from The Endangered Species Bulletin, July-August 2002.