Monday, April 13, 2015

Identified and Eradicated

A couple of weeks ago I asked for help identifying a thistle-like plant that was growing in my garden. Ever since then, I started noticing them along roadsides everywhere. Thanks to Jackie, a neighbor on the Nextdoor website, I have a positive identification for the plant.

This is musk thistle, Carduus nutans, an invasive weed from Eurasia that is now in almost every state. Musk thistle is a biennial and can grow up to six feet tall. This one was quickly growing and was already a couple of feet tall and wide. It quickly dwarfed the chocolate daisy on the right. You can read all of the dirty details about this foreign thug on the website.

Once the plant was identified as an invasive species, its fate in my garden was settled. It had to go before it had a chance to flower and produce seeds.

So I took my trusty shovel and removed the musk thistle from my decomposed granite pathway. It was quite heavy and prickly. After giving it a few chops with the shovel, I carefully placed it in a lawn refuse bag so it can be composted into a useful garden addition. Good bye and good riddance, musk thistle. I knew I had reason to be suspicious of you.


  1. Phew! Holy cow - I had no idea how large that rosette was. And honestly if I saw a stand of nodding purple-pink thistles roadside as I zipped along I'd probably think they were pretty - because I'd never ever see that huge smothering mass of leaves below.

    Between this monster and the mustard plants that are taking over Central Texas roadsides I'd say we all have our work cut out for us. And, note to apocalyptic moviemakers/book writers - the end will probably feature not just cockroaches but thistles - giant swaths of thistles....

    1. Yep, that sucker was getting big. I fear these foreign invaders will eventually all but eliminate our wildflowers. It is scary how quickly the mustard (aka bastard cabbage) has spread. One day, our gardens may be museums for wildflowers because they will not be able to grow in the wild.

  2. Cockroaches and thistle at the end of the apocalyptic.

    Thanks for sharing I believe we have one of these on the outside of our fence line. Hold on while I go digging!


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