Plant identification

Asked June 25, 2020, 9:42 AM EDT

Please identify this beautiful plant. A thistle, I think. Thanks

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

I believe this is musk thistle, also known as nodding thistle (Carduus nutans). It is an introduced biennial in Michigan. As a biennial it spends it first year as a rosette and doesn't grow much vertically until the second year when it will flower. The plant you have here is in its second year and will die after producing seed.

As a self-proclaimed weed nerd, I agree it is beautiful, and a much rarer sight in Michigan than our more common Canada thistle and bull thistle.