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thistle,popular name for many spiny and usually weedy plants, but especially applied to members of the family Asteraceae (asteraster
[Gr.,=star], common name for the Asteraceae (Compositae), the aster family, in North America, name for plants of the genus Aster, sometimes called wild asters, and for a related plant more correctly called China aster (Callistephus chinensis
..... Click the link for more information. family) that have spiny leaves and often showy heads of purple, rose, white, or yellow flowers followed by thistledown seeds (a favorite food of the goldfinch). The Scotch thistle (variously identified, but most often as Onopordum acanthium, now cultivated as an ornamental) is the badge of the Scottish Order of the Thistle and the national emblem of Scotland. The blessed thistle, or St.-Benedict's-thistle (Cnicus benedictus, the Carduus benedictus of Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing, iii:4) was at one time a heal-all and is still sometimes used medicinally. The common, or bull, thistle (Cirsium lanceolatum) and the pasture thistle (Cirsium odoratum) are attractive weeds not to be confused with the so-called Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), naturalized from Europe. A few thistles are cultivated in gardens, e.g., the large-flowered globe thistles, species of the Old World genus Echinops. The Russian thistle is a tumbleweedtumbleweed,
any of several plants, particularly abundant in prairie and steppe regions, that commonly break from their roots at maturity and, drying into a rounded tangle of light, stiff branches, roll before the wind, covering long distances and scattering seed as they go.
..... Click the link for more information. . Thistle is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
the name of many thorny plants of the family Compositae, mainly of the genus Onopordum. There are more than 40 species, distributed in Eurasia and North Africa, chiefly in Mediterranean countries. Of the approximately ten species found in the USSR, the most common is the Scotch thistle (O. acanthium), a biennial weed with a prickly, dentate, and winged stem and large thorny leaves. The plant’s lilac-pink flowers are gathered into large solitary heads. The fruits have pappi. The Scotch thistle is found in the European USSR, the Caucasus, Siberia, and Middle Asia.