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Milk Thistle - Plant

Note: The image is for reference purpose only.
Silybum marianum
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Description for Milk Thistle

The plant is an erect annual with simple branches. One particular feature about this sow thistle is that most of the plant is smooth and glabrous - without any hair or bristles. The stem is hollowed, and have a milky sap and its lower part usually gets a purple-brown colour later in spring. The leaves differ according age.

Common nameFlower coloursBloom timeHeightDifficulty
Silybum marianumpurple-brown colour July to August3.00 to 5.00 feeteasy to grow

Planting and care

When starting off outdoors the seeds of Silybum species such as milk thistle should be sown at a depth of 3 mm either in early summer (Silybum biennials) or just after the last frost of spring (annual Silybum).
Milk thistles can grow in either sunny or lightly shaded areas of the garden and the soil type is not to important.If starting Milk thistle off indoors then do so about two months before they are due to be transplanted outdoors (transplant biennials in late summer.

SunlightSoilWaterTemperatureFertilizer
Full sunwell-drained soilMedium 60°F Apply any organic fertilizer

Caring for Milk Thistle

    It is easy to look after Milk thistle and other members of the Silybum plant genus; They can tolerate dry ands wet soils, so just let them be. However they may become weedy, so it is best to deadhead the flowers before they set seed, and to remove any unwanted thistle plants.

Typical uses of Milk Thistle

Special features: The name "milk thistle" comes from the more obvious features of the plant, both the milk-like splotches of white covering the leaves of the plant, as well as its .

Culinary use: Milk thistle has very attractive white-veined dark green leaves and purple flowers, but its biennial growth pattern and inclination to spread aggressively make it difficult for placement in gardens.

Ornamental use: plant presenting decorative leaves with ... The plant is sometimes also used as a decorative element in gardens, and its dried flower heads may be used for the decoration of dry bouquets.

Medicinal use: Plant is useful in liver diseases. Leaves and roots are used in indegestion as febrifuge; stem is used as sedative, tonic; root extract is used in ointments for ulcers and wounds. Gum produced by evaporating latex is used for ascites and hydrothorax.

References

    http://www.gardenersnet.com/flower/thistle.htm http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=277472&isprofile=0&

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