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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