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Bull Thistle

Cirsium vulgare

Family: Asteraceae

Bull Thistle
  • found in fields, gardens, and roadsides
  • introduced, but is now common
  • prickly wildflower
  • leaves, branches, and stems are covered in spikes
  • can grow up to 6 feet tall
  • biennial
  • in the sunflower family
  • 3-6 inches long
  • very spiky
  • the first year thistle is alive, a rosette grows near ground
Bull Thistle Flower
  • pink or purple
  • 1-2 inches long
  • blooms from July-September
  • when flowers are finished blooming, plant produces "thistledown", small seeds with fluffy stuff on them; these are carried away by the wind so thistle can reproduce

The tough fibers of the stem can be twisted together to make strong twine or used as a toothbrush. The pithy stalks can be used to make a hand drill, useful for igniting a pile of tinder.

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