New Mexico thistle

Cirsium neomexicanum

''Cirsium neomexicanum'' is a North American species of thistle known by the common names New Mexico thistle, powderpuff thistle, lavender thistle, foss thistle and desert thistle.

This plant is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, particularly the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. It has been found in California, Nevada, Arizona, Sonora, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.
Winter is coming! This thistle was gently covered with frost at 3000m in October in the high mountains of central Arizona. The night must have been so calm as to allow the frost to settle in on this thistle in this way. Cirsium neomexicanum,Fall,Geotagged,United States

Appearance

''Cirsium neomexicanum'' is a tall plant, routinely exceeding 2 metres in height. It erects a stem which may have webby fibers and long, stiff spines. The sparse leaves are greenish-gray, hairy, and very spiny.

Atop the mainly naked stems are inflorescences of one or more large flower heads with rounded bases and phyllaries covered in long, curving spines. The largest heads may be up to 5 centimeters in diameter. They are packed with white or lavender disc florets but no ray florets.

The fruit is a flat brown achene with a long pappus which may reach 2 centimeters long. Unlike many other thistles, this species tends not to be a troublesome noxious weed.

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Taxonomy
KingdomPlantae
DivisionAngiosperms
ClassEudicots
OrderAsterales
FamilyAsteraceae
GenusCirsium
SpeciesC. neomexicanum