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Weed control, management, ecology, and minutia
by Rick Nelson
on April 17, 2014 at 4:42 PM
Thanks for posting this - good info - I recall reading years ago that milk thistle (I think) is edible and some friends and I were trying to figure out which is which during this glorious spring. Surprising how hard it is to find out!
by John Dague
on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM
Rick, you don't want to find any milk thistle, it is a horrible plant that can grow 10 feet tall. It can choke out every other living plant and can repel most animals. The leaves and flowers have tiny sharp thorns that stick deep under your skin then break off at the slightest touch, like thousands of tiny needles.  
If anyone would like to harvest a huge crop of them, I can show you where they grow abundantly in Milam County Texas.
by Pam McReynolds
on March 1, 2016 at 4:27 PM
I disagree with John. We have milk thistle on our property and if you hoe it, the horses will eat it once it wilts. They also love to eat the dried heads (go figure as they are quite prickly) that are filled with seeds. Doves love the seeds as well. I think the Italian thistle is much worse and more invasive. It's not easy to hoe like the milk thistle and spreads everywhere. The horses eventually eat it when there is nothing else but it is very hard to control because it's much smaller than the milk thistle.
by Cheryl Miller
on March 25, 2017 at 9:10 AM
Can the leaf of a milk thistle grow when left after removing the plant from my lawn? I heard this somewhere years ago.
by Guy B Kyser
on March 27, 2017 at 8:40 AM
I just received this question: "Can the leaf of a milk thistle grow when left after removing the plant from my lawn? I heard this somewhere years ago."  
As far as I know, the answer is No... the leaves can't form new roots once they're cut from the plant. However, if you cut off a milk thistle at the base, leaving the root in the ground, the root can sometimes develop a new shoot.
by Margaret Martinson
on March 31, 2017 at 2:54 PM
Aside from the sharp stickers all over leaf, stem and flowers which make the milk thistle unpalatable, are the milk or italian thistle plants poisonous to livestock because of their high nitrogen content?  
Is it safe for goats or lambs to eat the leaves after they've wilted post glcosphate application?
by Kenneth Vanepps
on July 12, 2017 at 5:26 PM
My neighbor is growing thistles that don't have spine's can you eat them as well
by Guy B Kyser
on July 14, 2017 at 2:54 PM
Margaret, this website has a list of weeds causing nitrate problems... not a single thistle on the list.  
As to glyphosate & grazing, there aren't any grazing restrictions following use of glyphosate... however, if the critters are going to eat a lot of the foliage, my preference would be to wait until after rain or irrigation so they don't ingest too much of the soapy surfactant.  
Sorry for the slow response - busy season -
by Guy B Kyser
on July 14, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Hi Kenneth,  
I'm going to suggest you show this plant to a farm advisor. Since I don't know for sure what the plant is, I would use caution.
by Patricia Talbert
on June 3, 2019 at 3:50 AM
Milk thistle is a lovely, garden worthy medicinal thistle. I grow it as a companion to vegetables as an attractant to beneficial insects and butterflies. Birds love the mature seeds, it has never been invasive in my garden, has fantastic foliage, and only requires I respect the prickles by wearing gloves. Great for liver cell regeneration. A much maligned plant, and fail to see why.
by Patricia L Dengler
on June 5, 2019 at 9:33 PM
What kind of thistle is this? Mt. Laguna meadow.  
Sorry. Is there any way to share an image? Low growing. Thistle with no stem.
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