Desert thistle

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Desert thistle

Desert thistle  - Cirsium neomexicanum

by: Honza
Location/Trail:  SP Crater
Date sighted:  6/13/2009
Season:  Summer
This thistle is native to the southwestern United States, particularly the Mojave Desert. It is a tall plant, routinely exceeding 2 meters in height. It erects a stem which may have webby fibers and long, stiff spines. The sparse leaves are greenish-gray, hairy, and very spiny. Atop the mainly naked stems are inflorescences of one or more large flower heads with rounded bases and phyllaries covered in long, curving spines. The largest heads may be up to 5 centimeters in diameter. They are packed with white or lavender disc florets. Unlike many other thistles, this species tends not to be a troublesome noxious weed.
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