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botanical name:
Silybum marianum
Silybum marianum © Deeproot Plant Base
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common name:  Our Lady's Milk Thistle
synonyms:  Carduus marianus
family:  Asteraceae
characteristics: annual/biennial
height: 1.20m
width: 1.20m
growth rate: fast
growth habit:
leaf colour: white & green
flower colour: pink
main season: Spring
edible symbol edible
medicinal symbol medicinal
aspect: full sun
conditions: dry soil, moist soil, sandy soil
preferred soil pH: neutral-alkaline
minimum temp: -15°C
USDA zone: 7 to 8
description:
Large undulating leaves edged with sharp spines and covered with bold silvery veins. Most attractive when young but very large and coarse as it ages. Biennial, producing thistle like purple-pink flowerheads in the second year.

cultivation:
Well drained, neutral or alkaline soil, in full sun.

propagation:
From seed, often self-sows

usage:
Traditionally used as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of liver problem. Used as a detoxifying agent. The active substance is known as Silymarin.
Some parts of the plant are also edible and the seeds can be used as a substitute for coffee.

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