Carduus nutans L.
Family - Asteraceae
Stems - To +2m tall, herbaceous, erect, glabrous to arachnoid pubescent, from taproot, often branching, winged(from extended leaf bases). Wings with spiny margins.
Leaves - Basal leaves in a rosette, to +40 cm long, oblong, elliptic, or lanceolate, variously lobed, spiny-margined, glabrous to arachnoid pubescent. Cauline leaves alternate, variously lobed, spiny-margined, sessile with bases decurrent on stem and forming wings, glabrous to arachnoid pubescent.
Inflorescence - Single flower head terminating stem. Head usually nodding, 5-8cm broad.
Involucre - Outer phyllaries spine-tipped, lanceolate, typically recurved, reflexed or spreading, greenish purple, with prominent midvein, to +1.3cm long, +1cm broad at base. Inner phyllaries with weak spine or none, erect to spreading, purple, with prominent midvein. Phyllaries mostly glabrous or with arachnoid pubescence at base.
Ray flowers - Absent.
Disk flowers - Corolla dark pink, to +1.5cm long, 5-lobed. Stamens 5, mostly included. Style exserted well beyond corolla, pinkish to lilac at apex. Achenes glabrous, 4mm long, striped. Pappus of capillary bristles.
Flowering - May - October.
Habitat - Pastures, prairies, waste ground, disturbed sites, roadsides, railroads.
Origin - Native to Europe.
Other info. - This is a very
aggressive species which spreads rapidly because of the large number of
achenes produced by each plant.
Photographs taken at Flemming Park, Jackson County,
Photographs taken at Flemming Park, Jackson County, MO., 5-13-00.