Sunday, June 5, 2011

Question for the Hive Mind: Thistle?

When I took these pictures, I thought I knew what this was, but after spending some time on-line trying to verify, I lost confidence. So I'm asking y'all. My guess is bull thistle, Cirsium vulgare, though this plant doesn't seem to have long terminal spines like C. vulgare does.

Bonus Sheba content!

It probably doesn't matter; these pictures were taken 13 May, and the plant's probably been cut down by now, but I thought it had a sort of admirably dense and pointy form, the sort of thing people would try to grow on purpose if it were more difficult to grow on purpose. (If I'm right about the ID -- hey, it attracts butterflies! It provides food for songbirds! Pest-resistant! Hardy! Brightly-colored flowers! What more do you want?) It at least looks like something I'd try to grow indoors, if I thought that were possible. Luckily for us all, I don't think it's possible.

Anyway. If anyone can confirm, or suggest an alternate ID, I'd appreciate it.


nycguy said...

If you like the shape of the leaves and the plant, and the texture of the leaves, get an acanthus.

It's very similar and has showier flowers.

pennsylvania plantboy said...

I'd say it looks like a Cirsium thistle of some sort, but if you really want to know the exact species, here is a dichotomous key:

It might still be hard to tell until it flowers. I do think that thistles don't get enough positive attention, considering the minimal care and nice flowers.

Anonymous said...

My guess would be some species of Centaurea.