Yellow Thistle
Cirsium horridulum var. vittatum

yellow thistle

Yellow thistle rarely has yellow flowers which are more commonly purple to almost white. This variety is found in pastures, roadsides and particularly in the interdune swales of Central and North Florida up to North Carolina. Variety vittatum is much larger than the more common var. horridulum.

The soil must be moist or the plant will wilt or die. The first year produces an interesting rosette of spiny leaves. By the spring of the second year a three to six foot spike of large purple flowers is produced. These attract many butterflies and other pollinators.

Although this is classified as a biennial it will often produce offshoots at the base and live for several years. The painted lady butterfly lays her eggs on this plant although most reproduce only in Mexico and migrate north in the spring.

Plant as an accent among trees growing in moist soil or mix with spiderwort, seaside goldenrod, seaside gentians, sea oxeye daisy, salvia, goatsfoot morningglory, blue curls and sea lavender. Look for these plants growing in the moist interdune swales of Merritt Island.