Edible Thistle (ts’k’lawsxn)

Edible Thistle is a tall perennial with prominent spines and hairy bracts, as well as distinct pinkish-purple flowers. It is common in wet meadows and forest openings, and as the common name implies, the roots are edible.

Categories: ,

Description
Latin Name Cirsium edule
Type Herb
Description Edible Thistle is a tall perennial with prominent spines and hairy bracts, as well as distinct pinkish-purple flowers. It is common in wet meadows and forest openings, and as the common name implies, the roots are edible.
Height and Spread 1 – 2 m tall. 25 – 50 cm spread.
Bloom Colour Pinkish-purple
Bloom Months Late spring to summer every second year.
Foliage Colour White tinged green.
Seed Months Mid-late summer
Light and Water Grows in both open and shaded areas. Prefers moist ground.
Ethnobotany Information Edible Thistle is commonly eaten by the Secwepemc and Nlaka’pmc peoples, particularly the 1st year plant that doesn’t flower. The roots are edible when cooked and are reported to have a pleasant sunflower-like flavour. If eaten in too large of a quantity though, Edible Thistle can cause gas.
Wildlife Uses Edible Thistle is an important wildlife species. Notably the fluff produced with the seeds are often used by songbirds in nest construction, as well as a food source.
Garden Uses Edible Thistle has bright purple flowers that can look quite exotic in a native plant garden. They are also edible, but one should note their large spines when considering placement.
Facts There are many other species of both native and invasive species in the south interior of the province. As part of the Sunflower family almost all species are edible though.
Propagation Techniques Edible Thistle produces fluffy seeds that can be planted to propagate.