All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

<strong>Nodding Thistle; close-up</strong>
<em>Carduus nutans*</em> /Aster Family
<span style="color: red;">(INN) Rank 2</span><br>
This flower is pretty, but the leaves are terribly prickly. Farmers HATE thistles, they ruin their livestocks' fields...
Nodding Thistle; close-up
Carduus nutans* /Aster Family
(INN) Rank 2

This flower is pretty, but the leaves are terribly prickly. Farmers HATE thistles, they ruin their livestocks' fields. It is actually against the law to have this plant on your property to have this plant on your property in some states! When we were in Alaska, we saw signs along the highways instructing people to report any thistles to the Agriculture Department. Thistles are composite flowers, they in the Aster family. Note the purple pollen on the anthers. Despite their nasty reputation, they do have their redeeming qualities --- they provide nectar for butterflies, bees, and other insects and the tiny seeds are favorites of small birds like goldfinches.
Biennial
Where seen: Everywhere!
Great Smoky Mountains NP

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