A Walk in Fern Bluff Park
March 10-11, 2001

Page 2

Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

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Unlike the Yellow Thistle (Cirsium horridulum), these have smooth stems with lots of branches, each containing several flowers. The lobed, spatula-shaped leaves have prickly margins, like the Yellow Thistle, but they clasp the stem. 

The Prickly Sow Thistle is also known as Hare's Thistle, and as the Hare's Palace. The latter name was supposedly given because rabbits were seen to use this plant as a protective shelter. One wonders if Joel Chandler Harris did not have S. asper in mind when he had Uncle Remus tell the tale about Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch.  

Another species, the Common Sow Thistle (S. oleraceus) is also seen in this area; but is easily distinguished from S. asper by the relative absence of spines on its leaves, as shown in the image below (taken on Sunday).

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Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

Many of the yellow-flowered thistles shown below were also found in the park on Saturday. They appear to be the Prickly Sow Thistle (Sonchus asper) of the Sunflower Family (Compositae). 

 

The bud of S. oleraceus, (image below) as with that of S. asper, is smooth and without spines.


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