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What is this plant / weed with purple flowers?

Posted by Lt_Lugubrious 8 (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 28, 12 at 3:11

This plant is everywhere I go lately. At the side of the road, off in some field, etc. It's very uninviting (sharp spines everywhere) except for the flower.
Does anyone know its name?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What is this plant / weed with purple flowers?

It's a thistle of some type. Goldfinches love the seeds.

RE: What is this plant / weed with purple flowers?

It is indeed a Thistle, and I would suspect it of being Field Thistle, Cirsium discolor (Muhl. ex Willd.) Spreng. Field Thistle link. (That Latin mess is just the Scientific name along with the guy that named it) or a Carolina or Soft Thistle, Cirsium carolinianum (Walter) Fernald & B.G. Schub. Carolina Thistle link. Both have lovely flowers, inhabit old fields, and unfortunately, lawns (OUCH!), and non-birders blame people who feed birds with spreading them through "thistle" seed in bird feeders, but that "thistle" is an African plant called "Nyjer", and cannot grow here.

Goldfinch are closely tied to Thistle; they do not start breeding until it blooms (July and later), make their nests out of the fluff (so tight they hold water!), and eat the seeds, and feed the seeds to their babies. They are so closely tied that their scientific name of "Carduelis" is very close to that of most Thistle (Carduus).

RE: What is this plant / weed with purple flowers?

I feel very late on the follow up myself, but thanks for the prompt replies.

Interesting facts on the ornithological side. I appreciate the information!

RE: What is this plant / weed with purple flowers?

I am also glad I clicked on this thread. Fascinating stuff, thanks, danetherton.

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