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Kentucky Color - Bristle Thistle

Also known as Nodding or Musk Thistle, this plant has one of the most beautiful flowers in all of nature. They also are pesky plants, needing (near) eradication. The Chattin Chowning Method is BJF's favorite
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By Billy Joe Fudge, Retired State Forester
Kentucky Division of Forestry

Yes, thistles are invasive species with sticky thorns that deter both man and beast from developing any kind of close relationship, but when June rolls around in Kentucky they sure do put on a show.


Bristle Thistle sometimes referred to as Nodding or Musk Thistle is one of the most beautiful flowers in all of nature putting its northern cousin Canadian Thistle back a few notches on the regal scale. There are several kinds of chemical sprays that will kill them but my favorite eradication method is the Chattin Chowning Method. He always carried a 25 lb. bag of salt while clipping pastures or mowing hay. When he would mow one down he would simply put a handful of salt on the thistle stump. This of course killed the thistle and the cattle would lick up the salt and the salty soil to clean up the mess.
Pretty neat, don't you think? -Billy Joe Fudge


This story was posted on 2011-06-12 07:20:57
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Kentucky Color: A Bristle Thistle



2011-06-12 - Between Sparksville and Chance, KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
A Bristle Thistle flower in full bloom on Harvey's Ridge in Adair Co., KY. This one is almost 2 inches across. -Billy Joe Fudge

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Wildflowers of Kentucky: Another look at Bristle Thistle



2011-06-14 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
Bristle Thistle, pre-bloom stage: As an addendum to this "Bristle Thistle" Kentucky Color I just wanted to let the folks see the most beautiful pre-bloom flower I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. The form and color contrast is amazing. -Billy Joe Fudge

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