Carduus nutans

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Scientific Name Carduus nutans USDA PLANTS Symbol CANU4
Common Name Musk Thistle ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 35787
Family Asteraceae (Sunflower) SEINet
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Description Life zones and habitat: Plains to montane; aggressive weed of waste ground, pastures, roadsides, fields.
Plant: Large, branching annual or biennial, one to nine feet tall; stems spiny-winged from the leaf bases.
Leaves: Leaves 4 to 16 inches long, deeply pinnately-lobed with sharp spines; basal and stem leaves similar; stem leaves winged (extending down the stem).
Inflorescence: Large, rayless erect or nodding flower heads 2 to 3 inches across, deep pink disk florets in the center; bracts beneath with very sharp points, lower ones are recurved.
Bloom Period: May to September.
References: "A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Rockies" by Carl Schreier, "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield and SEINet.
BONAP Distribution Map

Colorado Status:
Noxious Weed

© Tom Lebsack 2021