Cirsium edule (Edible Thistle)


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Plant Description: A west coast bienial thistle native to many pockets of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho including the Oregon coast and areas in the Willamette Valley. This thistle grows several feet tall, with spiked multi stems, producing several medium purple thistle blooms throughout late spring, all summer, and into fall providing long lasting resources to pollinators. A larval host to both Painted Lady and Mylitta crescentspot butterflies.

Roots and young shoots are edible but contain inulin, which can cause indigestion in large quantities. *NEVER CONSUME PLANTS WITHOUT PROPER ID*

  • Height: 3-6 ft
  • Width: 1-3 ft
  • Watering needs: moist-dry
  • Sun needs: full sun
  • Soil needs: moist
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): No

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: Found in moist and seasonally wet locations. Makes a great additions to wet meadows, swales, forest edges, food forests, and butterfly gardens. Native thistle are excelent keystones for wildlife. Stalks provide nesting material to native bees and birds. Flowers attract bumblebees, native bees, butterflies, moths, and beneficial and predatory insects like native wasps. Edible thistle is a larval host to both Painted Lady and Mylitta crescentspot butterflies. 

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