Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Bull Thistle is a biennial of the Compositae (Composite) family. The leaves are
deeply cut and prickly with long yellow spines. The stems are also prickly with long yellow spines. The disk flowers are showy, a rose-purple color, and resemble a “shaving brush”. These flowers sit on top of a spiny ball. The plant grows 2 to 4 feet tall.
Habitat: Pastures, roadsides. Throughout the eastern United States.
Flowers: June – October
Parts Used: Young leaves, young stems, and roots.
Harvest: Spring through fall.
Uses: Salad, cooked green, cooked vegetable. With the spines removed, the young leaves can be added to salads or cooked as greens. The pithy young stems are excellent peeled and eaten raw or cooked. The raw or cooked roots of first-year plants (those without stems) make a good survival food.