Cynthia St. Charles Store

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mystery Thistle

I do not recognize this plant that is growing at the edge of my wildflower patch.

I was ready to pull it up as a weed several weeks ago when I saw the start of a flower and decided to leave it to see what it would become.

So thorny, I think it must be some kind of thistle, but I can't find it in any of my flower books.

I keep checking to see if it is going to put out some petals . . .
or some color other than green.

I know I should probably pull these plants before they go to seed and cover the place with stickery plants . . .

But the shape of this plant intrigues me.

I just love the imagery created by these plants. Watch for this in some future art!

PS. I did some online research online and I am quite sure this plant is a teasel. I expect it was mixed in with the wildflower seeds. This is an invasive plant originally from Europe, where the spiny heads were dried and used to comb wool prior to spinning. According to my information - it is only as far west as Michigan. NOT! One seed head makes thousands of seeds. However, it is a favorite food of Goldfinches, thus the dilemma. Should I pull it up before it flowers and goes to seed or let it go (I understand the flowers are purple . . . . so tempting)


Michigoose said...

Here, and in New England, you only see it where there was a homestead. I was amused when I was living in a house built in Connecticut in 1805 as on the floor of the attic, in the cracks between the floorboards were remnants of teasel heads. Teasel was put onto a wooden frame and used to "tease" fibers much as a carding comb.

My experience with things which are labeled as invasive is that in some areas it is, and in others it is nearly impossible to eradicate.

Since Montana has so many invasive species, I'd cut the heads and use it as a dried flower in the house and not let it go to see. It is also a be aware.

In Connecticut, Mule Tail spurge wasn't a, I can't stop the stuff! Don't risk it.

tiedyejudy said...

I recently started putting out thistle seeds for the Goldfinches... I'll keep watch to see if anything sprouts! I assumed the seed companies sterilized the seeds before packing for sale, but could be not...

bj parady said...

I was thinking that had to be teasel before you added the ps. If you were here in the Midwest, I would say get rid of it now--it takes over, it spreads far and wide (thanks to the goldfinches eating it and then depositing it, if you get my drift). Plus I have a general policy of not having plants with that many sharp pointy parts.

lyle baxter said...

having had them in penna'I agree dry them draw a picture and burn the devils up! lyle. you could carve one . that would look good with some other flower heads

LuAnn Kessi said...

Yes, you are correct, this is teasel.
I posted images of teasel on my blog this spring:
We have had it on our place forever.
I don't think it is overly invasive.
Just don't brush up against it, or you will get scratched!
My images show it the following year when it is all dried out.
LuAnn in Oregon

Darcy Berg said...

This is teasel. Here in Illinois it is an invasive weed. Beware. It is pretty but.....