Onopordum illyricum

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Onopordum illyricum
Onopordum illyricum Habitus Mestanza.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Onopordum
Species: O. illyricum
Binomial name
Onopordum illyricum

Onopordum illyricum is a species of thistle known by the common name Illyrian thistle, or Illyrian cottonthistle. It is native to southwestern Europe, but has been introduced into Australia and California, where it has become a noxious weed.

The plant is a biennial herb producing an erect, branching, winged, spiny stem known to exceed two meters in maximum height. The spiny leaves may be up to 50 centimeters long and are divided into deep toothed lobes. The inflorescence bears several large flower heads each up to 7 centimeters wide. They are lined with spiny, woolly to cobwebby phyllaries and bear many narrow glandular purple flowers each about 3 centimeters long. The fruit is a cylindrical achene 4 or 5 millimeters long topped with a white pappus a centimeter in length.

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