Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Blessed Milk-thistle - Silybum marianum   (L.) Gaertner
Members of Asteraceae:
Only member of Silybum in NC.
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Section 6 » Family Asteraceae
Author(L.) Gaertner
DistributionA single specimen is known: Lillington, Harnett County, adventive in a plot of tobacco in 1989.

Native of Mediterranean Europe; in N.A. mostly on the West Coast and TX; scattered in most eastern states and provinces; absent from the northern Midwest and Rocky Mountain states.
AbundanceVery rare and not persisting.
HabitatWeed in tobacco plot.
PhenologyPlant was vegetative.
IdentificationBlessed Milk-thistle is quite distinct in its very large basal leaves that grow 1 or more feet long and wide. The surfaces are mottled all over with pale green blotches. In flower, the heads are large, thistle-like with numerous rose-purple ray florets, and sport long spiny bracts. The leaves and bracts clearly state to an observer and potential collector -- "do not touch"!
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcp
USACE-emp
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