Plant Database

Welcome to our Plant Photo Gallery and Database. Explore, discover and learn from a collection of regularly updated descriptions, photographs and herbarium vouchers (pressed images) of diverse flora found at the three Santa Fe Botanical Garden sites.

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Cirsium vulgare
Bull thistle
Asteraceae - Aster
Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve
  • Janice Tucker
  • Janice Tucker
  • Janice Tucker
  • Janice Tucker
  • Helen Woody

View full size photographer: Helen Woody
Herbarium voucher

Description
This nonnative biennial's leaves form a rosette the first year. It has a short fleshy taproot. Its many spreading branches have green or brownish leaves. The leaves are prickly on upper sides and cottony underneath. They are wavy, lobed and very well guarded by their spines, which also extend down the stem.
Mature Size
2 - 5 ft.
Flower Color
Purple
Bloom
July-Sept. The flowers are more or less clustered at the ends of branches. They are dark purple, 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and resemble purple powder puffs. The involucre is somewhat tapered and covered with spines. The seeds are topped by a circle of plume-like white hairs.
Interesting Facts
This native of Eurasia is classified as a Class C weed.
Traditional and Medicinal Uses
The seeds are an important part of the diet of many birds, especially Gold Finches and Pine Siskins. Thistle seeds are sometimes sold as wild birdseed. The Painted Lady butterfly lays her eggs on the leaves of the Bull thistle. After they hatch, they eat the leaves.
Santa Fe Botanical Garden Sites
Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve
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