This plant may grow as high as 1.5 meters. Its leaves are
long-pointed, deeply lobed, and prickly.
Habitat and Distribution
Thistles grow worldwide in dry woods and fields.
Peel the stalks, cut them into short sections, and boil them
before eating. The roots are edible raw or cooked.
The photo here is of a thistle stalk I just finished peeling.
It was tender enough to eat raw, and the taste was milder than
CAUTION: Some thistle species may be poisonous. Avoid
those that taste too bitter.
Twist the tough fibers of the stems to make a strong twine.
The stalks are a good thirst-quencher if you peel them and
simply suck the moisture out. These are especially useful at
high altitude, because they often grow well above the tree line.
Raw roots contain inulin, a relatively indigestible sugar,
so it is best if you cook them. Some varieties will even turn
somewhat sugary when cooked.
The seed fluff of many thistles makes a good fire tinder.