Bracts that once completely surrounded and protected the flower of this musk thistle (as seen in last Friday's post) begin to invert themselves revealing the flowering bloom.
Musk thistle or nodding thistle (Carduus nutans) belongs to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). This species is a biennial generally requiring two years to complete its life cycle. These flowers are native to Europe and Asia, but are now a common agricultural pest throughout the United States and much of southern Canada. Musk thistle was introduced to North America in 1853. Throughout most of its range musk thistle is considered a noxious weed, but is sometimes cultivated in gardens for its showy flowers.
Captured at Illinois Beach State Park on June 9, 2012.
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