While the native Edible Thistle (Cirsium edule) may be my favorite (see previous post), the introduced Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is pretty darn good too.
|Perfect stage for collecting|
|Bull Thistle in flower|
|Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)|
Don’t confuse this plant with Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense), which has leaves that are not as deeply lobed, stems that are smooth (lacking vertical and spiny stem-wings), and smaller, more clustered flower heads.
Bull Thistles are common in old fields and disturbed roadsides from sea level to the sub alpine.
Hiding behind all that armor is a tasty vegetable. The shoots of Bull Thistle are best harvested mid-spring before they have reached full height or show any sign of the flower heads. Wear gloves or be prepared for a painful experience! I slice the stalk near the base with a pocket knife and then peel them from the base to the tip, revealing the tender and tasty stem. They are firm, filling, and delicious with only a mild bitterness.
|Bombus vosnesenskii pollinating Bull Thistle|