Native to much of Europe and Asia .. This specimen was found in Utah.
It is a biennialherb with showy red-purple flowers and sharply spiny stems and leaves.The leaves are deeply lobed with long, stiff spines along the margins. Fine hairs give the plant a greyish appearance. Each stem shows a vertical row of broad, spiny wings.
Name means 'thorny donkey food'. Other names include Scots thistle or Scottish thistle, heraldic thistle and woolly thistle, the name Scots thistle comes from its status as the national emblem of Scotland. has been the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III It has been used to treat cancers and ulcers and to diminish discharges of mucous membranes. The receptacle was eaten in earlier times like an artichoke. The cottony hairs on the stem have been occasionally collected to stuff pillows. Oil from the seeds has been used for cooking.
Similar to Musk Thistle Carduus nutans AKA "Nodding thistle" A single plant can produce up to 120,000 seeds Seeds are wind dispersed.
Does not grow well in excessively wet, dry or shady conditions. Grows on open disturbed soil or heavily grazed land.
Same as: healthyhomegardening.com Plant.php?pid=168