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Plants of fields, roadsides, open disturbed areas on thin soils, flowering in August.  Not native.  Our plants are subsp. vulgaris (the only subspecies represented in North America)..

Biennial.  Tap-rooted.  Typical height is from 1 to 2 feet.

Inflorescences are   

Flower heads are discoid, borne singly or in small numbers at the tops of stems in flat-topped inflorescences.  Ray florets are lacking.  Disc florets are tubular, bisexual and fertile; corollas yellow (turning purple).  Involucral bracts are in 3 series, the outer two leaflike, with spiny margins; the inner series dry, straw-colored, appearing ray-like (opening in mid-morning, closing over the disc toward evening).

Basal leaves



Similar species:  plants in the genera Cirsium and Carduus (thistles)..




Images and text copyright  and Arieh Tal, 1990 to 2016.  All rights reserved.  ( Terms of use )