Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > Is this plant a weed? > Broadleaf Weeds > Upright > Musk Thistle
Musk Thistle (Nodding Thistle)
Carduus nutans L.
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- Prairie and landscape plantings
- Mostly found in the southern half of Minnesota
- Lawns (occasionally)
- Biennial plant that produces a basal rosette the first year
- Second year plant produces a 3-6’ tall flowering stem with spiny wings
- Leaves are coarsely toothed, very spiny, and nearly hairless; leaf edges (margins) are white
- Purple to lavender flower heads are 1-2” in diameter
- Stem section just below flower head (peduncle) curves or droops toward the ground
- Flowers bloom June through Aug
- Large taproot
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