Musk Thistle

Musk thistle (Carduus nutans L.)

Musk thistle is a member of the Aster family, Thistle tribe. It is anintroduced biennial, winter annual, or rarely annual, which reproducesby seed. The first year’s growth is a large, compact rosette from alarge, fleshy, corky taproot. The second year stem is erect, spiny, twoto six feet tall and branched at the top. The leaves are alternate,deeply cut or lobed with five points per lobe, very spiny, three to sixinches long and extend (clasp) down the stem. The waxy leaves are darkgreen with a light midrib and mostly white margins. The large and showyflowers are terminal, flat, nodding, 1½ to 2½ inches broad, purple,rarely white, and surrounded by numerous, lance-shaped, spine-tippedbracts. Blooms appear in late May and June and set seed in June or July.Seeds are straw-colored and oblong. Musk thistle is commonly found inpastures, roadsides, and waste places. It prefers moist, bottom landsoil, but can be found on drier uplands, also. It is becoming anincreasing problem throughout Colorado.  Musk can be mechanicallycontrolled with a shovel.  To find out more click here

Musk thistle Fact/Info Sheet (PDF) Click Here

Mixing Herbicides for Houndstongue and Thistle

musk rosette
musk flowers
super musk
some animals eat part of musk