Plants of Cirsium altissimum ranging from southern Minnesota to Texas often have more deeply divided leaves than do populations in other portions of the species’ range. Some botanists (e.g., R. J. Moore and C. Frankton 1969; D. S. Correll and M. C. Johnston 1970) have treated those plants as C. iowense. Others (e.g., R. E. Brooks 1986; H. A. Gleason and A. Cronquist 1991; G. B. Ownbey and T. Morley 1991) have treated them as C. altissimum. Still others considered them to be derivatives of hybridization between C. altissimum and C. discolor (J. T. Kartesz and C. A. Meacham 1999) and treated them as C. ×iowense. Indeed the existence of these plants blurs the distinction between C. altissimum and C. discolor, and herbarium specimens are often difficult to assign.