I am not good enough to differentiate all of the species, I will leave that to the botanists.
|Thistle with Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio troilus|
|Thistle at Lake El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas|
Anyone who has been to a bird shop knows that songbirds love the tiny black thistle seed. Cattle avoid eating the thistle because of its formidable spines which are sharp to the touch. All types of insects will gently rest on the head to taste the nectar, and, in the process, pollinate and fertilize the flower.
Native American Indians used the root of the thistle as a tea and an eye wash.