This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Latin name of Safflower, early applied to thistles). Composite. Blessed Thistle. A monotypic genus allied to Centaurea, and distinguished from it botanically by its heads being quite sessile and surrounded just below by bristly leaves. Its habit in the garden is very different from the bachelor's button, being thistle - like, and more interesting than ornamental. A hardy annual low-growing herb, rough, branching and pilose. Once thought to counteract poison. Culture easy. Fit for wild gardens and rockeries.
benedictus, (Linn. Carduus benedictus, Authors. Centaurea benedicta, Linn. Carbenia benedicta, Adans.).
Fig. 1005. Height 2 ft.: leaves alternate, sinuate-pinnati-fid, oblong, the lobes and teeth spiny: heads terminal, yellow, 1 in. wide, the flowers exclusively tubular. Medit. regions and Caucasus. Sometimes cultivated; also seen in waste places of S. Atlantic states and Calif. as a weed adventive from Eu.
Fig. 1005. Cnicus benedictus.
C. rhaphilepis, Hemsl., S. Mex., has recently been cultivated abroad. It is described as a handsome plant with deeply cut spiny-toothed leaves about 2 ft. long, gray-tomentose beneath: stem colored, much branched: flower-heads 3-3 1/2 in. long, the involucral bracts scarlet and spine-tipped; flowers scarcely exserted, the filaments carmine. Under the above definition of Cnicus, this plant must fall in another genus. It has been placed in Carduus by E. L. Greene, as C. raphilepis. N.Taylor. †