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Species at Risk

Mingan Thistle

Cirsium scariosum

What is the status of the Mingan Thistle?

Species at Risk - Who Knew?

In 1924, Brother Marie-Victorin identified the species for the first time: “The most spectacular discovery of our Anticosti-Minganie exploration is without a doubt that of the Mingan thistle.”


The Mingan thistle is an endangered species in Quebec (as defined by the Act Respecting Threathened or Vulnerable Species). The most recent demographic projections confirm the Mingan thistle’s precarious status in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. The species has been monitored there on annual basis since 1995.

Why the Mingan Thistle is in danger?

The Mingan thistle is in danger because as little as 2 to 23 individual flower yearly, therefore limiting the arrival of new plants. In 2011, the census survey carried out in the Mingan Archipelago identified about 1,700 plants divided in 8 colonies; four of these colonies were too small to survive.

Flowering plant with nets used to collect seeds.
Mingan thistle.
© Parks Canada / MANPRC Conservation Service- 2004 (Marie-Ève Gauthier)

Moreover, many disturbances factors like stormy tides, drought, forest progression on the coast, little snow cover, grazing by hare, anthills and trampling are affecting the Mingan thistle.

In addition to being physically isolated from each other - because they are on four different islands - the eight colonies of the Mingan thistle are 3,500 km away from their "closest relatives" living in Western Canada!!!