Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten.
Family - Asteraceae
Stems - To 2m tall, branching, herbaceous, erect, spiny-winged, pubescent, striate.
Leaves - Alternate, pinnately lobed to pinnatifid, sessile or with winged petioles, glabrous to scabrous above, with spines from veins, pubescent below . Leaf bases decurrent on stem. Leaf lobes ending in strong spine. Larger leaves to +35cm long, reduced gradually towards apex of stem.
Upper surface of leaf.
Lower surface of leaf.
Inflorescence - Typically single or double flower heads terminating stems.
Involucre - To +3cm tall, 4cm wide, vase-shaped. Phyllaries imbricate, with a spine tip, arachnoid pubescent.
Ray flowers - Absent.
Disk flowers - Corolla pink to rose, tubular, to 3.5cm long. Style 1, exserted beyond corolla. Achenes to 6mm long, 2mm wide. Pappus of plumose bristles.
Flowering - June - September.
Habitat - Pastures, prairies, disturbed sites, waste ground, roadsides, railroads.
Origin - Native to Europe.
Other info. - Many people,
including myself, beat up on Carduus nutans as being
a horrible exotic pest but Cirsium vulgare cannot
be far behind. This is a very common plant. Its spiny leaves and stems
are annoying at best. It is a pretty plant but doesn't make a good specimen for cultivation because of its prickles and weedy habit.
Photographs taken in Noel, MO., 8-14-03.