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Bull Thistle (Cirsium horridulum)

Bull Thistle

Bull thistle images: Winnie Burkett. Photographed on the Bolivar Peninsula

Alternate Names: Yellow thistle

Family: (Asteraceae) Sunflower

Habitat: Prairies

Height: up to 5 feet

Bloom Period: March through June

Description: Annual. It is wise to have a healthy respect for this plant! Its spines are formidable and can cause dermatitis problems. (Seminole Indians used the spines to make blow darts for hunting!) Despite these roadblocks, the leaves and roots are reportedly edible. Basal rosettes form in winter. Plants can reach up to 5 feet in height. Bloom color varies from shades of cream and yellow to purple.

The Wildlife Connection: Thistle is a nectar magnet for butterflies, bees, and other insects. It is a larval host plant for little metalmark and painted lady butterflies. The seeds are rich in oil and an important food source for seed-eating birds.

Bull Thistle Bull Thistle


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