Department of Natural Resources
nodding thistle Carduus nutans
thistle, or musk thistle, is a native of Europe and Asia. It was introduced
to the United States in the early 1800s. This plant has spiny stems and
leaves, and large red-purple flowers. It is known as "nodding thistle"
because the flower heads droop from the stem when they are mature. A single
plant may grow to six feet in height and produce about 120,000 seeds.
Wildlife and livestock do not feed on this species, which gives it an
advantage over the native plants that they do feed upon. It grows in open
areas, disturbed areas and forests.
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