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blessed milk-thistle, chardon marie, milk-thistle


glabrous or slightly tomentose.


basal wing-petioled, blades 15–60+ cm, margins coarsely lobed;

cauline leaves clasping, progressively smaller and less divided, bases spiny, coiled, auriculate.


26–35 mm;

tubes 13–25 mm, throats campanulate, 2–3 mm, lobes 5–9 mm.


brown and black spotted, 6–8 mm;

pappus scales 15–20 mm.


appendages spreading, ovate, 1–4 cm including long-tapered spine tips.


= 34.

Silybum marianum

Phenology Flowering Feb–Jun (west), Jul–Sep (north).
Habitat Roadsides, pastures, waste areas, sometimes cultivated
Elevation 0–800 m (0–2600 ft)
from FNA
AL; AR; AZ; CA; CT; IN; LA; MI; MS; NC; NH; NJ; NM; NV; NY; OH; OR; PA; TN; TX; VA; VT; WA; WV; AB; BC; NB; NS; ON; QC; SK; s Europe (Mediterranean region) [Introduced in North America]
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Silybum marianum is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental, a minor vegetable, or as a medicinal herb. Young shoots can be boiled and eaten like cabbage and young leaves can be added to salads. The seeds can be used as a coffee substitute. Extracts of S. marianum are used as an herbal treatment for liver ailments.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 19, p. 164.
Parent taxa Asteraceae > tribe Cardueae > Silybum
Synonyms Carduus marianus
Name authority (Linnaeus) Gaertner: Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 378. (1791)
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