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This native plant can be distinguished from the non-native Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle) by the white undersides of its leaves. Also, the floral bracts subtending the flowerheads of Bull Thistle have thick coarse spines, whereas the bracts of the Pasture Thistle have slender golden spines.. Otherwise, they are similar in appearance. Sometimes this plant can be aggressive in disturbed areas, but not to the same extent as the Bull Thistle. It is possible to boil the young leaves and stems and serve them as edible greens. During the month of August, when other forbs are less likely to flower, this plant produces some patches of pink color, making the prairie more interesting during this time of year. Return


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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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