Plant of the Month: Thistle(Asteraceae)
The Thistle plant is more than just a weed in your front yard. It sprouts beautiful flowers, and in the case of Milk Thistle, is sometimes taken as a supplement.
Thistle comes from Europe and Asia and has fourteen different species. Its official name is Asteraceae, but there are many similar plants like the Scotch Thistle or Onopordum Acanthium. There are plenty of variations such as the Globe Thistles, with beautiful dark blue flowers.
Thistle plants have flowers that are most commonly yellow or purple with spiky leaves encompassing the bottom. The leaves are hairless and often have white veins. Thistle can grow up to one meter tall.
To grow Thistle, keep in mind that these plants grow the fastest in groups, so try to plant them together in clump divisions. In the Spring, you can also plant a group of cuttings. While growing, Thistle plants grow best in full sun, but they will tolerate some shade. Make sure to plant them in well drained soil. Thistle plants are quite tolerant to drought and disease, and if you want to prevent them from growing by themselves, just snip the flower head off when its color fades.
Thistles are also very important pollinator plants, making them a hot spot for bees, butterflies, and other pollinator insects. This means that Thistle promotes pollination, which aids in growing more foods and plants. Overall, this helps get fresh food to your kitchen and creates a healthy environment.
Thistle plants may seem like weeds with prickly leaves, but they are quite beautiful. If you want a unique plant in your backyard that can also help better the environment, then what are you waiting for? Plant some Thistle!