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Thistle Flower.... or.... Thistle Weeds

(You, make the call)

"Thistle is a flower, which gardeners enjoy growing."

"Thistle is an invasive weed, and not easy to control."

"Thistle plants are great to have around the yard to attract goldfinches."

"I love Milk Thistle. It's milky sap serves my medical ailment."

Boy, if you were a thistle plant, you'd probably have a personality complex, suffering from multiple personalities. There is indeed a love-hate relationship..... either you love it, or you hate this plant. 

There are hundreds of varieties of Thistle, some of which, are invasive. They quickly spread through pastures. Cows will not graze near them. Others, are grown by gardeners for their flowers. Many of these gardeners, also grow thistle to attract finches to their yards. Goldfinches just love the seeds.

Milk Thistle has medicinal applications, and has been in use since the Roman Empire. Most notably, it has been used to treat liver ailments. It has also been used to treat kidney and spleen problems.

What Birds like Thistle Seeds? All kinds of finches, most notably, goldfinches, like thistle seeds. Mourning Doves, and Juncos, a type of Sparrow, also like thistle. The seeds have lots of fats, nutrients, and protein. They are great for your winter bird feeder.

Did You Know? Artichokes are a member of the Thistle family.

Plant Propagation:

Plants are grown from seed. They also readily propagate through their roots. New plants develop from buds on the root system. And, in many varieties, this growth is very aggressive. 

How to Grow:

Thistle are very easy to grow. They prefer full sun and will thrive in average or better soils. Once they sprouted, there is very little care you need to provide. They will do well all on their own.

Control of Thistle Weed:

Most herbicides will kill off the plant, but new ones can still emerge from the root system.


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