musk thistle

Other Names:  Nodding Thistle

Life Cycle:  Biennial 

Description: Initially, the plant forms a rosette of basal leaves. The alternate leaves are long, deeply lobed and spiny. Nodding or musk thistle can sometimes be confused with bull thistle. However, the upper side of the leaves of bull thistle are covered with hairs, unlike musk thistle which has no hairs on the leaves. The plant can grow as tall as 6 feet and produces purple flowers and seeds in the second year of it's life cycle. Usually the flower heads will droop, hence the common name, nodding thistle. 

Additional Photos

Herbicide Options: Response of Pasture Weeds to Herbicides and Mowing - AGR 207