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Cirsium edule

Cirsium edule

This wildflower medley photograph is from one of the trails near Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park during the summer of 2006. Cirsium edule, or edible thistle, is joined in this image by a paintbrush (I think it is Castilleja hispida, or harsh paintbrush), a species of Lupinus and an unknown member of the aster family with white ray-flowers (perhaps Erigeron peregrinus, or wandering daisy).

The epithet edule means “edible”; the Plants for a Future Database briefly describes its use as a food, particularly by First Nations peoples.

The Flora of North America has a detailed scientific account of the western North American Cirsium edule. The USDA's PLANTS database has a distribution map for Cirsium edule, and I note with some surprise that their maps now show distributions in Canada as well as the USA.


Thanks for the cheerful photo. It's good to be reminded on a gloomy Winter day that Spring is always on the way.

I love thistle! It's so beautiful~

Nice photo. This is a wonderful combination of colors.

Really nice departure from what's normally presented here - wonderful shot!

daniel thank you tis lovely

this a get out your paints picture

americans know about canada
we just do not know where to find it

Cirsium edule - Z7 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths

"Bull thistle (and other thistles) were regarded by some aboriginal peoples, such as the Straits Salish, as having protective properties because of their prickly leaves. The leaves and roots were placed in bath water or held in the pocket as a talisman"


I missed the bee the first time. That is a bee, isn't it? Great color combination.

Thanks all - bev, I think that's a hover fly. Related to other dipterans like flies and mosquitoes, it is a bee-mimic.

I also wanted to point out that the 5000th comment on BPotD was posted today - thank you all for posting your words and thoughts!

I was born in Port Angeles, Wn, and My grand father homesteaded there before there was any town. Family lived there on hurricane ridge for many years. Also My mother died there of exposure at Christmas time,many years ago. So your beautiful picture brought many, many thoughts to mind. Good and bad. Nevertheless, thank you so much for posting it. It was like a gift of nostalgic beauty.

5000 thousand comments
you deserve a standing ovation
for all your work and devotion
thank you daniel

It's amazing that your family lived way up there, in that subalpine environment - and sad that your mother died there.

Daniel, do you by chance have a larger version of this image? You've gotten me curious about whether its a fly or a bee. It does look as though it only has one set of wings, but it also seems to have a rather un-flylike head. I can't tell if i'm imagining antennae or not. The banding pattern does seem more similar to the flies i've seen than the bees, but I haven't been able to find a total match in either family. I'm stumped without checking it against a more comprehensive set of pictures or getting a closer look at it.

Definitely a hover fly. Bees don't hold their wings out like that to make a cross-like profile, nor do they have huge eyes that cover most of the head.

What a great photo and a wonderful reminder of my first visit to Hurricane Ridge. The beauty and wonder of "real" mountains, the flora and fauna of a totally different region made my flatlander's heart sing!

The lupine, plus a shot of the leaves below suggest either the Texas Bluebonnet or the Big Bend variety of the Bluebonnet. This may be a nice gift from a migratory bird. This looks alot like photos I've taken in the Texas hill country in March. The paintbrush is nearly identical, and the bluebonnet head while not nearly so organized are very similar.

I'll try to remember to post a larger version of the hover fly this evening.

This shot brings back memories of my trip out west in 1973. Mount Rainier's road was solidly lined with medleys like this. So beautiful! A landscaper could not have outdone the majasty.

whoa, you guys have figured out how to make the picture bigger than mine if you can see the head! I agree though, it looked sort of like a bee but not really; hence my original question. I like hover fly better - not that I've ever heard of one!

Here's the close-up of the hover-fly.

We are making a Tshirt for our non-profit butterfly club part of the North American Butterfly Association. We would like to use part of this photo the thistle for design of our Tshirt. Tshirt are one of two ways that our club is support. We also sell our butterfly books.You have kindly given us permission before for an educational project.
thank you. Eleanor

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