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Cirsium vulgare

 
Cirsium vulgare

Synonym(s) Carduus vulgare
Common name bull thistle
Family asteraceae
Life cycle biennial
Flowers purple-pink (summer)
Size 3'
Light sun

I actually let this weed grow to maturity in our garden, because I was speculating it might be globe thistle (a plant we've grown a few times, but have never managed to keep around). Not so - this is a close relative to Canada thistle, one of our worst weeds, but not nearly as troublesome since it spreads only by seeds, not by roots. It grows from an overwintering rosette, and its leaves are narrower and spinier. Even though the flowers are as pretty as those of any thistle, now that I know what it is I'm going to remove it from our garden.

bull thistle
Cirsium vulgare
Stems are densely covered in white hair

This is a weed in our garden

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Last modified: November 10, 2006
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