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.
||Late spring to summer every second year.
||White tinged green.
|Light and Water
||Grows in both open and shaded areas.
||Prefers moist ground.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||Edible Thistle produces fluffy seeds that can be planted to propagate.