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Musk Thistle, Nodding Thistle

(Carduus nutans L.)

Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

▲ young seedling

▲ seedling

▲▼ first year rosettes

▲ closer view of rosette leaves showing white hairs on edges that make the edges look wax-coated

▲ early spring rosette in second year of growth-- about 2 foot diameter

▲▼ early flowering stage


▲▼ mature, flowering plants - top plant is about 6 feet tall, bottom plant is about 5 feet tall



▲▼ winged stems from leaf  bases continuing down stem

▲ wide, spiny bracts surround base of flower head

▲ large flower heads often 3-4 inches across (almost always over 2 inches across) and often bent or drooping to one side

▲ pasture full of musk thistle near Springfield, MO


Carduus nutans L., Musk Thistle, Nodding Thistle, Milk Thistle  (Bayer Code:  CRUNU; US Code CANU4)

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Updated 23 January 2019