U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Surprise Field Office|
Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans)
Description: Biennial or winter annual up to 6 feet. Leaves shiny, dark green with a white midrib, hairless, deeply lobed and spiny margined. Leaves extend down stem as spiny wings. Flowers solitary, terminal, nodding, 1-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, deep rose to violet to purple. Phyllaries broad, spine tipped. Seeds 3/16 inch long, shiny, yellowish-brown, tipped by a tuft of white hairs.
Habitat: Native to Europe. Invades pastures, rangeleands, forestlands, waterways, meadows, waste areas, and grain fields. This plant can rapidly form dense stands from seed -- 20,000 seeds per plant with 90% viable is common.