Pasture Thistle (Cirsium Pumilum) is the thistle that we most often see in fields and pastures. It is one of the largest of the genus, its heads often measuring three inches across. The stem is stout and simple, and grows from 1 to 3 feet high; it is hairy and angular in section and grows from a biennial rootstalk.
The flower heads are very large, two to three and one-half inches across and usually solitary, although frequently two heads grow on the same stalk. The leaves are lance-shaped, green, clasping, rather hairy, pinnatifid and armed with short, stout prickles. Just below the flowers are several small bract-like leaves, also armed with sharp prickles. All this armor tends to discourage pilfering insects from crawling up the stem; should they persist and reach the large involucre, which is also armed, they will find that, in addition, it is slightly sticky, and presents an impenetrable barrier to their upward progress. This species is common from Me. to Del. and Pa. It blooms from July until Sept.
Common Or Bull Thistle (Cirsium Lanceola-Tum) , although an introduced species has a larger range than the last. It is common in fields and pastures and along roadsides from Newfoundland to Ga. and west to Nebr. Its heads are only slightly smaller than those of the preceding; usually but one is found on a plant. The stout stem grows from 2 to 4 feet high. The leaves are rough and bristly above and woolly underneath.
Although thistles may be foes to those following agricultural callings, they are staunch friends of birds and insects (except crawling ones). The plant fibres and down from the mature heads forms the principal part in the composition of nests of the Goldfinch.
A. Star Thistle.
B. Chicory; Succory.
This is a slender-stemmed plant with a small, thistle-like head but with none of the other characteristics of the true thistles.
The slender stem branches slightly and rises to heights of 1 to 2 feet, each branch bearing a solitary flower head at the end. The flower head has a round involucre of tawny, or dark brown, dry bracts; the florets are all tubular and rose-purple, the outer ones being rather larger and spreading horizontally. The whole head has a loose tousled appearance. Rather small, oblanceolate leaves alternate along the stem, from the base to the flower heads.
This species, which is introduced from Europe, grows in waste places and along roadsides from N. S. to Ontario and south to N. J. and Pa. It may be found in bloom from July until Sept.
Chicory; Succory (Cichorium Intybus) (European) has become thoroughly naturalized and is common in the eastern half of the United States, especially so near the coast. It is a perennial so there is little danger of its losing ground in any locality in which it becomes established.
The stem is stiff, tough and angular in cross-section; it attains heights of from 1 to 3 feet. It is often quite branching but the branches spring out abruptly so that the effect is not very graceful. The leaves are long-lanceolate, dark gray-green and coarsely toothed. The flowers are very beautiful, - a violet-blue, approaching a pure blue in color. There are at least two ranks of strap-shaped rays, the inner ones much shorter, all toothed at the ends. Succory blooms in dry situations from July until Oct.
A. Fall Dandelion.
B. Dwarf Dandelion; Cynthia.