Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum) And Friend

August 17th, 2012. Tall Thistles (Cirsium altissimum) are blooming at the moment. Most plants are only 4 to 5 feet tall. Every now and then, we spot a truly tall plant as we did in the Scull Shoals Experimental Forest in the Oconee National Forest a couple of weeks ago. These photos were taken in the Oconee National Forest in either Greene or Oglethorpe counties.

 This plant was 10 to 11 feet tall. Last Saturday (8/25/2012) we saw a couple of plants at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge yesterday that were 7 to 8 feet tall but the plant at in the Scull Shoals EF has been the tallest we’ve seen this year.


Compared with the leaves most Cirsium species, the leaves of C. altissimum are smooth



 A developing buds


Opened flowers

A spent flower

A male Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon) was feeding on one of the flowers.

Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle) is native of the United States where it’s found in states east of a line from Minnesota to Texas. In Georgia, it’s found in counties in the Piedmont.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle)
- Missouri Plants: Cirsium altissimum

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Cirsium altissimum (Tall Thistle)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Cirsium altissimum

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