Recognized by thick white lines on the large, wide, dark green, glossy leaves. Frequently, when the star thistle gets too out of hand, it's set on fire and burned away because digging it up or mowing it down is too painful. Italian Thistle. A milkethistle inflorescence sticking through a fence in South Davis. — SummerSong. You might find some growing in the Student Farm to see what they look like. Much beloved by the Scots, they are typically recognized by their flowerheads, which can be purple, rose, yellow, or white, and their sharp spiny stems and hairy leaves. This is a unique flower as it has a spike on the top, it is generally brown in color, and there aren’t petals per say. With the cattail, you will find that it is a flower that you would give to create peace between friends or lovers that may be fighting. Scientifically they are referred to as ‘cypsela’, (or cypselae if you have more than one). This is a flower that you will hand someone to symbolize peace and let them know that you are thinking about them and that you also wish them prosperity. Lime or Ash). Flowers surrounded by large spines. You will find that the flowers are extremely simple in the way that they look. If a cypsela has lost its seed, it’s called a ‘pappus’, (pappi being the plural) and it literally means old man.”, “Cypselae are the dry singled seeded mature fruits of various types of daises and in this case thistles which belong to a tribe of flowering plants in the daisy family.”. May have some white in leaves, but not as much as milk thistle. The thistle is the national flower of Scotland and appears in many Scottish symbols—supposedly the Scots used thistles in war against invaders by scattering them on the ground. Cirsium hydrophilum or Suisun thistle). An office poll was unable to name or identify this ubiquitous botanical specimen calling them ‘fairies’ and discussing the urban narrative that if you catch one with a seed, you are entitled to remove it and make a wish. You will find that it is extremely difficult to reproduce the conditions that the cattails thrive in, so unless you live near a lake or you have a way to make a wetland, you probably aren’t going to grow them. They cluster in our sheltered suburban back doorsteps, but what are they? Yellow Starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis L.) is an invasive species whose thorns will find their way through most clothing if you dare to walk through an area where it is growing. Despite driving away humans and deer, thistle attracts bees, butterflies and birds. This flower, however, has a very specific meaning and is a very interesting flower that you can take a look at. Take a look at our Town Flora to see what else grows in Davis. Photo taken on 3/28/05—so there are many more flowers to follow in this season. Daniel Ohlsen, a PhD student in the School of Botany says, “These white, feathery specimens are from thistles and they are also known as thistledown. They can spread by rhizome or seeds which are attached to the tufted flower — this plant self-seeds freely! Find in depth information about yellow starthistle at the UC Davis Weed Research & Information Center as well as UC Integrated Pest Management. The thistle is the national flower of Scotland and appears in many Scottish symbols—supposedly the Scots used thistles in war against invaders by … “Your office was on the right track likening it to the dandelion, as they are also a daisy that produces cypselae that look like little parachutes with the seed suspended underneath. Also commonly called cardoon, this is the same species (Cynara cardunculus) as the edible artichoke, but having escaped cultivation it has reverted to a more wild form. See also "names and medicinal uses" below. Learn more | In some places, thistles are actually a protected species! All About the Cattail Flower. Some did speculate that these ‘fairies’ were actually a dandelion-like plant of some type. A cattail is an interesting flower, for a lot of people, they don’t even think of it as a flower, but it is. Some seeds have only one wing (e.g. It is actually called "blessed milk thistle" in some places from a claim that the milk of Jesus's mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, spilled onto the leaves and created the white lines... Italian Thistle. Scattering seeds on the breeze is one of nature's ways to ensure plants spread widely across the planet. There are also two different sexes for this flower, so there actually is a male and a female flower. The spike which is at the top of the cattail can also be eaten basically like you would eat an ear of corn. Donate. As with most in the Aster family (incl. It often has a grey-green appearance to the large leaves, which can be very complex in shape with lots of 'fingers'. —StevenDaubert. The leaves are dark, more slender than milk thistle, and are finely furry underneath. The cypselae of thistles are easily detached from the plant and are released in much the same way as dandelion cypselae, by puffs of wind,” says Mr Ohlsen, who is currently studying Australia’s largest fern family. Sometimes seeds have thin wings as an extension of the seed that enable them to glide in the wind. Learn more about seed characteristics, dispersal, and germination. Except where otherwise noted, this content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Thistles are regarded as noxious weeds and you will see them in pastures and environs around Melbourne and they are common throughout southern and eastern Australia. You will always find this flower in habitats that are wetlands and otherwise, they are hard to grow in terms of recreating the conditions that are out there. The seeds are surprisingly large for floating on the breeze! Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is common around Davis. Please log in. While it’s refreshing to finally know the science of this ubiquitous star-like seed dispersal unit, hang on to your inner child, try to catch a ‘fairy’ with a seed, a cypsela if you will, so you can pluck it, turning it into an old man pappus, and make that wish. You will find that not only are they edible, but they also are good for you to eat, you eat the stem that grows underground. You probably aren’t going to fill bouquets with cattails and the flowers that they have, but they are occasionally used for that. We have lots of star thistle, and it SUCKS! It tends to be a bit smoother and less coarse than common clover honey, and is excellent for mixing into drinks like tea because it stirs more easily and doesn't dominate the bottom of the cup. Thistles have a deep root system which makes them extremely drought tolerant. If you find a tall, slender thistle with green flanges up and down the flowering stem, it is probably this species, Carduus pycnocephalus. Each flower bears a meaning and has a unique symbol. At certain times, like the start of the academic year, these white feathery floating asterisk-like specimens swirl and gather in protected alcoves around the University buildings. One of the things that makes it hard to control weedy thistles is that native thistles are often susceptible as well, and so at risk. One interesting fact about thistles is the edible globe artichoke was actually cultivated from artichoke thistles.”. The female actually looks prettier and the male flower is more for reproduction. This type of attachment is quite heavy, and this system only works well in a good wind, and from a tall tree. Associate Professor Ed Newbigin, plant breeding researcher and pollen count expert from the School of Botany says, “Examples of thistles people may be familiar with are the spear or scotch thistle, and the artichoke thistle or cardoon.