Biology and abundance

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve

The Mingan Thistle is a perennial plant that usually grows from one summer to the next as a rosette, blooms once, then dies. It takes an average of 10 years to blossom, but some plants have lived over 20 years. What seems to be a petal is actually a flower. Each has the potential to produce seed.

Did you know…?

There could be over 2000 tiny pink flowers on one single plant.

Thistle seedling
Small thistle rosette
Small rosette
Large thistle rosette
Large rosette
flowering thistle
Flowering plant


Photo credit: Nancy Dénommée

The Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is home to twelve Mingan Thistle colonies spread across four islands. Most of the colonies are located on the littoral where the plants grow in a narrow band between the forest and the dense vegetation of the beaches. The Mingan Thistle is confined to this limited space because it does not bear the competition of tall and dense plants. Its habitat is strongly influenced by the sea.


The Mingan Thistle plants are monitored individually since 1995. Yes, every each of them has a tag with their own number. It is thus possible to know the age of the plants and their survival rate. The analysis of these data provides valuable insights into the viability of this species in the Mingan archipelago. After sowing that started in 2001, abundance peaked in 2011 with about 1,600 plants. Then there was a decline until 2017 when there were only 444 plants left. Intensive recovery actions were taken between 2017 and 2021 and allowed to reach more than 3,600 plants in 2021, most of them being still very little. Let's hope they will survive!

Date modified :