Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

Cirsium vulgare is known by the common name Bull Thistle. They grow widely in Walton County and, I suspect, in many other counties in this area. At home they are a favorite for Gulf Fritillaries and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies and of some true bugs such as Leaf-footed Bugs (Leptoglossus phyllopus). They begin to bloom in mid June.

A plant just starting to sprout in early May.

A couple of weeks later. The plant is about 30 inches tall.

Fully grown plants may be 4 to 5 feet tall.

The bloom just starting to develop in early June. The spikes are very stiff and sharp.

A few days later.

The bloom is just starting to open in mid June.

A day or so later.

Fully opened.

Close up of the opening bloom.

Pollen just starting to show.

The seed head.

Cirsium vulgare
(Bull Thistle) is native to Europe. It grows throughout the United States and Canada.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle)

- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Cirsium vulgare

Identification resources:
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Cirsium vulgare
- Missouri Plants: Cirsium vulgare

Related posts:

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index

- Yellow Thistle (Cirsium horridulum)

- Nodding Plumeless Thistle (Carduus nutans)

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