WAVY-LEAF THISTLE
File Size: 88 KB
 
Cirsium undulatum   (Nutt. ) Spreng.
Russell County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-4 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August
Stems: Erect, stout, leafy, simple or sparingly branched, grooved, white-woolly.
Leaves: Alternate, crowded, simple, usually pinnately lobed, lanceolate to elliptic, 4 to 12 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide, light green above, densely white-woolly below; margins wavy, bearing yellow spines; upper leaves gradually reduced in size.
Inflorescences: Solitary urn-shaped heads, 1 to 1.5 inch wide, terminal; bracts with conspicuous light-colored ridge on the back, tipped with short spines.
Flowers: Ray florets absent; disk florets numerous, purple to pink.
Fruits: Achenes, smooth, brown, tipped with white feather-like bristles, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Dry prairies, over-grazed pastures, roadsides, and open disturbed areas.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Forage Value: Cattle will avoid this native thistle because of its formidable spines. Songbirds will eat the seeds.
Uses: Native Americans utilized the roots of wavy-leaf thistle as a food source and to make a medicinal tea used as a wash to treat eye diseases in people and livestock.
Comments: Can become problematic in overgrazed pastures.

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