Asteraceae
Cirsium edule

Indian Thistle

Stems erect, hairy, succulent and stout in lower portion, becoming thin above. Leaves lance-shaped, lobed or coarsely toothed, with spiny tips. Leaves covered with woolly hair when young, becoming less hairy with age, but midrib hairs persist on underside. Basal leaves of the flowering season are 15 in. long. Flower heads of pink disk flowers held singly or clustered at branch ends; flower heads hang when young. Bowl-shaped cups about 1 in., covered with webbed hairs; short spines at bract tips. Grows in moist deep soils of meadows, forests, or along ridges. Stems are edible when peeled.

  • Rarity: Locally Common
  • Flowering Time: All Summer
  • Life Cycle: Biennial, Perennial
  • Height: 20--80 inches
  • Habitat: West-Side Forest, Meadow, Coastal, Subalpine
  • Found In: Mt. Rainier NP, Olympic NP, N Cascades NP
  • Native: Yes