The Cirsium arizonicum complex is widely distributed from the Sierra Nevada, White Mountains, and New York Mountains of eastern California across the mountains of the southern Great Basin and Colorado Plateau to the mountains of eastern Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. This group of plants comprises a series of intergrading races with intricately overlapping patterns of variation. For plants that I am treating as C. arizonicum (in the broad sense), F. Petrak (1917) recognized three species, one with a variety and two subspecies plus his unstated type subspecies and variety. R. J. Moore and C. Frankton (1974b) revised the complex, recognizing six species, three of them newly described, for the plants I treat as C. arizonicum plus C. turneri, which I do not include in C. arizonicum. P. L. Barlow-Irick (2002), in a work focused on statistical analyses of variation patterns, recognized six species also, but circumscribed very differently from those of Moore and Frankton. Two of the species proposed by Barlow-Irick have not been formally described.