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Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum)
The Texas Thistle is a native plant to the State of Texas. The distribution range extends from Texas to Missouri. One of ten types of thistles in Texas, this one is the most common. It can grow up two to five feet tall. The plant is a perennial that blooms from April through August.
The Texas thistle is one of the plants that the Painted Lady butterfly frequents and uses for the larval stage of its development. Fully mature blooms provide a source of pollen for bumblebees, and the plant also provides a good source of nectar for pollinators as well. The Texas thistle is a drought-tolerant plant that has no foraging value for livestock. However, because of the abundance of seeds in the flower head, the plant is an excellent source of food for birds like the Goldfinch. White-tailed deer and Rio Grande Turkeys may also eat the seed pods.
The flowers develop a white silky fluff on the mature seeds which allows them to be carried by the wind, thus providing for wider seed distribution. In addition to allowing for wider seeding, some birds such as the Goldfinch, also use this fluff for nest lining and construction.
For more information on the Texas wildflowers, check out the following books.
More Photos of the Texas Thistle