Cirsium occidentale var. venustum
Variety venustum has the widest ecological range of the races of C. occidentale. Populations occur within a few miles of the California coast in the North and South Coast Ranges and western Transverse Range and range eastward across the state into scattered sites in the Sierra Nevada to the higher elevations of the arid mountains of the western Mojave Desert and adjacent areas of the southwestern Great Basin Desert. Most populations of these plants can be recognized by their striking red to reddish pink corollas. The heads are sometimes visited by hummingbirds as well as by a variety of insects. Intermediates have been documented between var. venustum and vars. californicum and candidissimum.