13 thoughts on “Friday Photo: Thistle”

  1. It’s funny to hear this from the other side. We’re always told it’s too cold to grow this or that and you struggle to grow plants from cooler climes :) Obvious I know, but all the same it makes me smile just to be reminded of such things.

    Congratulations on the thistle, it certainly is a tough plant.

  2. Congratulations on your thistle and your beautiful garden. Oh to be in a climate with no minimum 6 month moratorium on outdoor gardening!

    Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Where we live, thistle is considered a noxious weed and destroyed on sight! Your garden, however, looks beautiful–congrats!

  4. Salam,
    has life got back normal to Bahrain?
    please Mahmoud get back to your old-self

  5. Mahmood, it’s been a while but this post caught my attention. You’d be surprised at the varied environments thistles grow. Here in California we have a number of wild species that grow in hot, dry areas:

    – Cobweb thistle – Cirsium occidentale: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/cobwebthistle.html

    – Mojave Thistle – Cirsium mojavensse (this grows in the deserts): http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/mojavethistle.html

    – Desert Thistle – Cirsium neomexicanum: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/desertthistle.html

    – Red Thistle – Cirsium nidulum: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/redthistle.html

    – Elk Thistle – Cirsium scariosum: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/elkthistle.html

    – Bull Thistle – Cirsium vulgare: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/bullthistle.html

    – California Thistle – Cirsium occidentale var. californicum: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/californiathistle.html

    – Venus Thistle – Cirsium occidentale var. venustum: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/venusthistle.html

    We have a number of weedy, nasty “thistles” like Yellow Star Thistle which is a nasty weed that makes pastures almost useless, Centaurea solsatilis: http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=1853 It is toxic to horses and causes a disease called “chewing disease”.

  6. As Michelle said these are considered noxious weeds and we have other plants with quite attractive flowers and no seemingly bad properties which are also considered noxious weeds.

    We also have some weeds which I would happily give to my enemies, just to share the pain around. This might not be a good attitude to have but thankfully it is only a fleeting thought.

    Thanks for your blog, I enjoy reading what I can and exploring other sections as well.

  7. Mahmood, it’s been a while but this post caught my eye. Here in California, we have a number of native thistles, of which a good number actually grow in our hot, dry deserts. Our prettiest one I think is the cobweb thistle, named after the fine hairs found caught between the thorns:

    http://home.nps.gov/prsf/naturescience/images/cobweb_thistle.jpg

    Scottish thistle, known here as bull thistle is a noxious weed in California. It’s really not a good garden plant because it ends up everywhere and your neighbors hate you for it. Even worse is Yellow Star Thistle, Centaurea solstitialis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurea_solstitialis

    It makes impenetrable dense stands, can often cover huge tracts of land, acts like living barbed wire and is also poisonous to horses, causing chewing disease.

  8. I believe you can grow anything, Mahmood.

    Yet while thistles have some beautiful flowers on them, Barry is correct in saying that they are invasive weeds in their natural habitat, here in the U.S.

    I commend you on growing one in Bahrain. I just hope you have NOT imported an aggressive weed to Bahrain in an attempt to just grow a pretty flower. LOL

    1. Dan,

      Introduced species are always a concern but I doubt Thistle would survive in typical Bahraini soil. The salt content in the soil is incredibly high.

  9. Thistles are like thoughts.

    They drift across boundaries and don’t need much nourisment to survive.

    They can be a menace if allowed to extinguish all other growth.

    But, governed by a caring hand, they can produce beautiful flowers that compliment the rest of the flowerbed.

  10. You might want to remove the blossom when it starts to fade, thistle seeds can live for years and once they’re established are very difficult to control. They do attract bees and butterflies, however.

    1. Thanks Laurie. I’ll make sure I do that.

      I have suffered from the “today’s seeds tomorrow’s weeds” syndrome and am still paying for it in some parts of the garden.

  11. I moved to Michigan two years ago, where I first saw a thistle plant bloom in my yard. Beautiful. The goldfinches who eat the thistle seeds are remarkable. I was quite sad when the lawn men uprooted it.

    So I tried the next year to grow thistle from seed, and failed. This Spring, I had a patch of them starting out in the grass, and so I, considering myself very lucky to have this second chance, promptly dug them up and put them in planters.

    Now, having just learned of the whole “noxious weed” concept… will my neighbors hate me? Will I get an ordinance citation for this? What if I nip off the blooms before they seed, and use thistle socks instead for the goldfinches? What if I hang the thistle sock near the thistles? Will plants grow from the thistle sock seeds if they are spread?

    Questions for civilized living, I suppose: How to flourish in beauty and grace without ticking off the neighbors.

    I think I’ll go with the “clip blooms/use a thistle sock” option.

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