Monday, June 27, 2016

Nuttall's Thistle

N…is for Nuttall’s Thistle!


Cirsium nuttallii, called Nuttall’s thistle, is a North American species of plants in the thistle tribe within the sunflower family. The species is native to the coastal plain of the southeastern coastal plain and south-central United States, from eastern Texas to southeastern Virginia.
Cirsium nuttallii is a biennial or perennial herb up to 350 cm (almost 12 feet) tall, the entire plant is exceedingly spiny. Leaves are up to 60 cm (24 inches) long with thin, green on the upper side but gray to white on the underside because of numerous woolly hairs; spines along the edges of the leaves.


Thistles are biennials; they do not flower in their first year, but develop a deep tap root and a basal rosette of leaves. Flowering occurs in the second year, they go to seed, and then the plants die. The large number of seeds produced by their parents, however, ensures that more plants will emerge next spring.

Nuttall’s Thistle is named after Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), an esteemed English naturalist who did important work in the United States between 1808 and 1841. Among many other accomplishments he authored The Genera of North American Plants and a Catalogue of the Species to 1817 (1818) and A Manual of the Ornithology of the United States and of Canada (1832-34).  

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