Milk Thistle
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Milk Thistle
aturalized Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Milk Thistle, Blessed milk thistle, Marian Thistle, Mary Thistle, Saint Mary's Thistle, Mediterranean Milk Thistle, Variegated Thistle • Dogri: dudhpattra, garda-marda bhuss
Botanical name: Silybum marianum    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Carduus marianus, Centaurea dalmatica, Cirsium maculatum

Milk thistle is an annual or biannual plant which is a fairly typical thistle with red to purple flowers and shiny pale green leaves with white veins. It grows 40-100 cm tall. The stem is grooved and more or less cottony. Leaves are oblong to lanceshaped. They are either lobed or pinnate, with spiny edges, hairless, shiny green, with milk-white veins. The flower heads are 4-5 cm long and wide, red-purple in color. The bracts are hairless, with triangular, spine-edged appendages, tipped with a stout yellow spine. The achenes are black, with a simple long white pappus, surrounded by a yellow basal ring. Flowering: June-October.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke
Photographed at Old Ooty, Tamil Nadu.
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