While I wondered around today I noticed that we have a greatly reduced number of thistles this year, as compared to recent years. Many people spend lots of time and money trying to control the common field thistle, Cirsium discolor, but we don’t so much.
I think they are uncommon this year because they have a two-year life cycle–the drought we had last year (and continue to have this year) did not allow them to build up the plant mass that they need to survive and flower the next year.
Anyway, I view thistles a little differently than most people. Here is one reason why:
Thistles are great butterfly flowers.