Carduus nutans (Nodding Thistle) - photos and description

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans
Carduus nutans in background towering over Cirsium arvense (Canada Thistle) in foreground

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans

Carduus nutans
Stem leaf in above photo

General: Tall, robust, with stout stems and an erect, branching growth habit. Biennial.

Introduced, designated as a noxious weed in Saskatchewan.

Flowers: Flower heads often drooping, borne singly on long stems. Flower heads pink-purple in colour, large and showy, fragrant, measured to 6 cm diameter. Bracts spine-tipped, awl shaped with a prominent mid-rib. Bract measured 15 mm long by 5 mm wide.

Leaves: Leaves lanceolate, deeply lobed, decurrent, and very prickly. Leaf highlighted in photo above was 24 cm long by 13 cm wide. Flowering stems are woolly hairy, lower stems are sparingly hairy.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 100 cm, we measured plants to 200 cm tall.

Habitat: Habitat is roadsides and waste ground.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Introduced.

When and where photographed: Photos taken September 6th, riparian area along road, Qu'Appelle River flood plain, about 30 km north of our home in Regina, SK.