Canon SX40 HS
Photographed in empty commercial lot Crestview HIlls, KY.

Musk or Nodding Thistle (Carduus nutans)

Musk Thistle Images © John M. Randall/The Nature Convervancy

DESCRIPTION: Several native thistles exist in prairies that may be confused with exotic species. Verify identification before initiating control work.
Musk thistle is a large, biennial herb. Leaves are dark green with a light-green midrib, smooth and hairless on both sides, coarsely lobed, slightly wavy, and arranged alternately on a stem that appears winged. Each lobe ends with a prominent spine. First year rosette leaves can be up to 24 inches long. Plant height varies from two to seven feet. The terminal flower of musk thistle is large—1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter—solitary, and usually nodding or slightly bent over. The stem is freely branched.
Plumeless thistle is similar, but with many leaf-like spines on the stem, and hair on the underside of the leaf. In addition, the red to purple flowers of plumeless thistle are much smaller—usually about one third the size of musk thistle flowers. Plumeless thistle flowers are single or clustered, erect on the stems, and usually do not droop or nod. These two thistles can hybridize, and both are very similar in the rosette stage.

Bull thistle is also a biennial with prickly, winged stems. The leaves are coarse and spiny above with wooly white hairs below. A purple “brush” of flowers emerges from a spiny green ovoid base.

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ronrussell, ron russell, flower, wildflower, kentucky, nature, closeup

My name is Ron Russell. I have lived in Newport, Kentucky since 1986.
My interest in photography as a hobby goes back to a Minolta camera I found in 1974.I love digital photgraphy because of the freedom it gives me to shoot whatever whenever I want. My Canon SX40 HS is a constant companion.
I’ll add a caption to any photo. Let me know what you want I’ll add it, upload and reply.

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  • Country  Pursuits
    Country Pursuitsover 2 years ago

    Excellent capture and PoV Ron.

  • Thanks, Richard

    – Ron Russell

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 2 years ago

    BEAUTIFUL work

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeover 2 years ago

  • kalaryder
    kalaryderover 2 years ago

    Looks terrific against the sky

  • Thanks you, Kayla

    – Ron Russell

  • Digitalbcon
    Digitalbconover 2 years ago

    Congratulations on our feature Ron!! Thanks for your contribution to the group!!

  • virginian
    virginianover 2 years ago

    Fantastic capture; love Thistle plants. Congrats on your feature.

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