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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 29, 2017 12:48 PM CST
There have been gardening moments when I considered the thistle to be the worst among weeds since, once established, no amount of digging or pulling up could get rid of it. So it is with some trepidation that I preserve this plant:


Thumb of 2017-04-29/Steve812/73e450

It's a thistle with very pale gray foliage. It's sculpturally beautiful. I love the way the purplish lavender flower echoes the gray foliage.
It lives in a barren spot where absolutely no other plant will grow. Last year there was one. This year three. And suddenly I have begun wondering if allowing them to live is going to prove a mistake.

Ideas?

When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Gary
Wyoming MN (Zone 4a)
hostasmore
Apr 29, 2017 1:39 PM CST
I did make that mistake with a nice "flowering" weed which turned up in my wildflower garden. It was a big mistake! It seeded itself so well, it took me three years to get ahead of it. I still occasionally find a seedling. If you like the appearance have you ever considered globe thistles? They are very attractive and soft spined, and at least here easily controlled. It is Echinops.
[Last edited by hostasmore - Apr 29, 2017 1:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 29, 2017 3:25 PM CST
It's a good idea to consider Echinops. I think Annies Annuals & perennials has them.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 29, 2017 10:30 PM CST
Steve, what is your thistle? Is it a native or an introduced invasive in your area? That would greatly affect my decision whether to let it grow or not.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 30, 2017 9:58 AM CST
Deb,

Great question! I think it is native. I've never seen a thistle with foliage that is quite so gray. Furthermore, it is in a part of my property that is completely wild - though I cultivate a few plants fifteen feet away. Because much of the land in this area consists of granite boulders bigger than a large house, much is left to nature here. Among the thirty closest neighbors the closest thing to turf is one small patch (10' x 14' ) of green astroturf that someone has set some outdoor furniture on. It's on a flat terraced area that, I think, reminds them of a place far away.

Are there thistles that make chemical substances that kill neighboring plants? I know black walnut trees do. Scrub oaks? I ask because I'm trying to figure out why this little patch of soil (not 100 square feet) is so uniquely barren. And why everything downhill from there dies, especially after a good rain. Is it that there's some terrible secret about the soil in that spot? Are thistles one of those frontier plants that grow "where no plant has grown before" and help transform infertile land to fertile, much as certain sunflowers do? Suddenly these thistles which I had only peripherally admired have taken on a whole secret life of their own...



When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 30, 2017 1:45 PM CST
Sounds like you have a bit of a mystery, which is always rather fun. I'd just let it be (since you like the looks of it), take more photos, research, and see what you find out. Keep us informed!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Apr 30, 2017 11:35 PM CST
I was hoping it was a Cobweb Thistle. They are California natives with red flowers but otherwise look a lot like yours.

But I suspect its a Scottish Thistle (Onopordum acanthium) Crying
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 1, 2017 8:33 AM CST
That seems like a good guess, Daisy. If I were trying to raise cows on my range I'd be very worried. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
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pod
May 1, 2017 9:09 AM CST
I believe I would allow it to stay within boundaries.

Bees and other pollinators are drawn to thistle blooms which would be my reasoning.

Within boundaries would mean I would uproot any escapees that invaded my garden/flower beds.

Perhaps the bloom could be cut off and disposed of before the seeds became airborn.
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
May 1, 2017 10:12 AM CST
Can you tell if your plant is a perennial or biennial? That might be a good way to narrow your choices.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 1, 2017 12:39 PM CST
If it is a Scottish Thistle (Onopordum acanthium), then it is a biennial.

I like the idea of nurturing bees in the garden. I'm thinking that maybe birds will like the seeds. I'll deal severely with it when it actually tries to move into my cultivated areas.



When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 1, 2017 2:38 PM CST
Not sure that the birds have any use for the thistle seed... other than as nesting material...
That thistle seed that people purchase for their birds isn't the same thing.

Having said the above, I would still keep the thistle... for the reasons you mentioned... great photo op... when the bees and butterflies find the plant...

At my house, I brought out some thistle seed collected in town growing along the roadside... I got one to grow... and the next year? nada...

I tried it in a better location in the garden, and it's a success!

I do some deadheading on the thistle... don't really want an entire garden of it...

Name: Gary
Wyoming MN (Zone 4a)
hostasmore
May 2, 2017 7:51 AM CST
The goldfinches really enjoy the seeds from the globe thistles. I think they enjoy most thistle seed, as long as it is fresh.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 2, 2017 8:34 AM CST
I'm fond of goldfinches; appreciate the advice.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
May 3, 2017 12:00 PM CST
Steve : Read up on Yacon's. Its a thisle. Tastes like artichoke. You can eat the buds, leaves, and tubers.
Its Perrenall if protected and ground dosent freeze.
Theres different varities. I had to go through 3 seed companies to find a variety that would ship to california.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 3, 2017 12:49 PM CST
Yacon is a daisy.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
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pod
May 3, 2017 3:19 PM CST
It's both a root and a daisy. I knew it was a root and now I know it is a daisy. Amazing the things I learn in spite of my grey hair. Thank you. Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
May 3, 2017 4:26 PM CST
Daisy : WHAT? Is it a daisy and thistle both ???😮???
Are we talkin about the same animal hear ??? Shrug! Grumbling
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
May 3, 2017 4:53 PM CST
https://www.cultivariable.com/...
Not a thistle.

I have wild Smallanthus growing at my house... Known locally as a bear's foot flower.

Thumb of 2017-05-03/stone/e4896f
Smallanthus uvedalia
I actually thought it was a silphium... until I found an ID.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 3, 2017 4:59 PM CST
The only thing they have in common is a family name

Yacon
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Millerieae
Genus: Smallanthus

Thistle
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Carduus, Cirsium and Onopordum

And to demonstrate my point:

Lettuce
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org

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