Common name: Variegated Thistle
Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. APNI*
Synonyms: Carduus marianus L. APNI*
Description: Biennial herb to 2.5 m high; stem striate, glabrous to cobwebby.
Basal leaves forming a rosette, pinnatifid, 25–50 cm long, 12–25 cm wide, petiolate; cauline leaves smaller, less deeply divided, sessile and auriculate, with yellow to white spines up to 8 mm long on the margins and over veins on the laminae; variegated with white veins.
Erect peduncles to 30 cm long; heads 3–5 cm diam., outer bracts to 5 cm long with spines, inner bracts shorter than florets, not spiny. Corolla purple.
Achenes 6–8 mm long; pappus bristles 15–20 mm long.
Distribution and occurrence: Weed of cultivated areas, pastures, roadsides and disturbed areas; south from Tamworth. Native of S Eur. & N Afr.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *NT, *CT, *ST, *NWS, *CWS, *SWS, *NWP, *SWP, *NFWP, *SFWP, *LHI
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *Tas. *W.A. *S.A.
Text by L. Murray
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 3 (1992)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.