Carduus nutans - Banner
Image Information
Location: Searcy County, Arkansas
Month of Photograph: May and June
Distribution Map: Carduus nutans - Distribution Map Spacer
USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (, 16 January 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Spacer Guests can be assured that there is established evidence that this plant has been found in all of the green filled counties of Arkansas. However, the white filled counties should not be interpreted as counties in which this plant does not grow. They should instead be interpreted as counties which lack officially sanction evidence of the plants presence there.

Family: Asteraceae

Flower Bud , frontal view
Carduus nutans - Bud Frontal View "
Not all images on this page were photographed on the same day or at the same location. The precise location and date that specific photographs were taken can be obtained by email.
Carduus nutans - Flower Frontal View Flower, frontal view


Carduus nutans is a plant loved by few and detested by many.

The web site "Least Wanted" says "Because musk thistle is unpalatable to wildlife and livestock, selective grazing leads to severe degradation of native meadows and grasslands as wildlife focus their foraging on native plants, giving musk thistle a competitive advantage. Although musk thistle is infrequently found in dense forests, it can colonize areas subjected to natural disturbances such as landslides or frequent flooding. Meadows, prairies, grassy balds, and other open areas are susceptible to invasion."

Carduus nutans - Involucre Ventral ViewInvolucre (bracts subtending an asteraceae flower), ventral view
Since the musk thistle is such an annoyance to farmers, wildlife managers and pretty much everybody else, much has been written about this plant.

Check these out for more than you ever wanted to know about musk thistle:

US Forest Service

and the

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
Carduus nutans - Stem and leaf Stem and Leaf


Carduus nutans - Bud Stem and Bud
Carduus nutans - Leaf Adaxial Leaf, adaxial


Carduus nutans - Leaf Margin Leaf Margin
Carduus nutans - Whole plant Whole Plant
Carduus nutans - Flower Bud Lateral ViewFlower Bud, lateral view
Carduus nutans - Flower BudFlower Bud
Flower, frontal view
Carduus nutans - Flower Frontal View