Milkthistle, blessed Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn., non-native
- a dicot in the Asteraceae family -

 
milk thistle is an aggressive grower in springbe careful with the needle-sharp pionts
This invasive introduction from Europe is difficult to control all over the Central Valley.
Here at Kaweah Oaks Preserve we try to keep the trails clear of it, but spring rains bring
fast growth to this nasty invader. 
milkthistle blooms are lovely flowers, but don't touch!

A beetle was intoduced in the early '90s whose larva eats the seeds.
It has been quite successfull, along with plenty of manual labor, 
we have cleared many trails of this most noxious weed.
If sprayed with a herbacide at the young rosette stage, control is possible.The dried flower has a strange and evil appearance.
Milk thistle grows to 5 to 7 feet tall by late spring. It can be controlled if sprayed with a herbicide
in the young rosette stage (left). The evil star-shaped dried flowers are common in wintertime.
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