Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tenacious thistle

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...

SowthistleReally, the nerve of this thistle! It is growing in a tiny crack between a concrete wall and the asphalt of a parking lot. I have tentatively identified it as a sowthistle (sonchus oleraceus.) If I am incorrect, please let me know.

I estimate that this plant is about 4-1/2 feet in height -- close to the top of the normal height range of sowthistles. It is doing quite well despite the confines of its existence.

Sowthistles are members of the aster family. The flower of this plant does look like an aster bloom. The tenacious and prolific ways of the sowthistle have put it on the noxious weed list in 20 U.S. states and 5 Canadian provinces.

Sowthistle bloom

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Limey said...

We also have this plant and it is nasty. Farmers in particular hate it especially as it has become an almost evergreen weed.

Genevieve said...

I read in one description of the sowthistle that its leaves can be up to a foot in length!!! That's a lot of prickly surface area.

The problem is that a weed like this, if unchecked, can completely take over a pasture or a field.

We went to Glasgow, Kentucky, some years back to buy a puppy. At the farm with the kennel, they had a pasture that was nothing but thistles in bloom. It was swarming with goldfinches (who love thistleseed.) I've never seen anything like it. It was truly an unforgettable sight for many reasons.

R. R. Blog said...

We get different thistles in the desert, call them Tumbleweeds. I like your perspectives! (Found you thru Clix-Pix!)

Genevieve said...

I'm really glad you stopped by r.r. blog, and I hope you'll visit again. :)

I think I know the plant you are talking about. We had a Russian Thistle we called a tumbleweed in the Nebraska Sandhills. It was a local "thing" in Nebraska in the 1960's to make a Christmas tumbleweed by stacking several prickly tumbleweeds of graduated sizes and spray painting them silver. A Google search for "Christmas Tumbleweed" reveals many modern day interpretations of the idea, including this giant tumbleweed tree in Chandler, Arizona.

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