Cirsium edule, the Edible Thistle, is a species of thistle in the genus Cirsium, native to western North America from southeastern Alaska south through British Columbia to Washington and Oregon, and locally inland to Idaho.
It is a tall herbaceous perennial plant, reaching 1-2 m tall. The leaves are very spiny, lobed, 10-30 cm long and 2-5 cm broad (smaller on the upper part of the flower stem). The inflorescence is 3-4 cm diameter, purple, with all the florets of similar form (no division into disc and ray florets). The seeds are 4-5 mm long, with a downy pappus which assists in wind dispersal. It is monocarpic, growing as a low rosette of leaves for a number of years, then sending up the tall flowering stem in spring, with the plant dying after seed maturation.
Media related to Cirsium edule at Wikimedia Commons