Scientific NameCarduus nutans
Other Common Names:
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
This erect biennial can be found flowering from mid spring into early summer.
The leaves initially form a basal rosette, however in the second year the flowering stem emerges, and the leaves on the stem will grow in an alternate fashion. The individual leaves are deeply lobed with 1 to 5 spines at the tip. All leaves are dark green with white veins, and progressively get smaller as you move up the plant.
This plant produces a musky scent, giving it its name.
Flower Seed Head
The solitary flowers grow at the ends of branches. Each pink or violet flower has purple tinged spiny bracts below it.
The seeds develop in a brownish oblong achene. Each achene has a white pappus that resembles small hairs.
This plant can be found along roadsides and other disturbed areas
upright and nonwoody,
prostrate and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
Stem Cross Section
round or oval