The Horrible Thistle

This is the Horrible Thistle, scientific name (Cirsium horridulum), it is not enough to call it a regular thistle, this one is just horrible. It is a rather large and spiky variety of weed. It grows along the edges of the salt marshes in east central Florida. I found these specimens in various stages of bloom on Black Point Drive, in Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge. Your first thought would be to stay away, danger, you will be impaled! This is a reasonable response, especially when hiking through the Florida marshes and wetlands. When they are in bloom though, they are quite beautiful. They bloom in various purples, whites and yellows with spider like filaments wrapping in and out through the thorny leaves. Upon closer inspection, they are not so horrible at all, as long as you don’t fall or walk into one.

http://www.enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?recnum=WF0033

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