Musk Thistle (Nodding Thistle)

Scientific Name - Carduus nutans L.
Family - Compositae

Winter annual or biennial with erect, robust stems from a fleshy taproot. Leaves alternate, smooth, dark green with a light green midrib and a whitish margin. Leaves deeply dissected, each lobe having one to five spines at the tip. Flowers with spine-tipped bracts, deep pink to purple, rarely white, and arranged in nodding heads. Reproduces by seed. Occurs from North Carolina to Louisiana excluding Florida. Also in India and Africa. Native to Eurasia.