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Description for Blessed Thistle
Silybum marianum, commonly called blessed thistle or milk thistle, is a rosette-forming biennial that is native to the Mediterranean region (southern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa). It has naturalized in parts of Europe, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand. It is an invasive self-seeder in some locations (Class A noxious weed in the State of Washington).
Planting and care
The stem of the Blessed Thistle grows about 2 feet high, is reddish, slender, very much branched and scarcely able to keep upright under the weight of its leaves and flowerheads.
The leaves are broad at the base, becoming long and narrow, clasping the dull green stem, the irregular teeth of the wavy margin ending in spines.
Caring for Blessed Thistle
- For growth as a biennial, sow seed directly in the garden from May to August (flowers will not appear until the second year).
- For growth as an annual, sow seed indoors in March for planting outside at last spring frost date (flowers will appear in late summer followed by seed).
- Flowering plants may spread by self-seeding unless flowers are promptly deadheaded after bloom.
Typical uses of Blessed Thistle
Special features: No serious insect or disease problems.
Ornamental use: The plant is used for ornamental purpose.
Medicinal use: An extract (silymarin) from the seeds of this plant has been used for many years in the treatment of a variety of medical problems including liver disorders, gall bladder disorders, high cholesterol and mushroom poisoning.
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