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common name: Our Lady's Milk Thistle
synonyms: Carduus marianus
white & green
dry soil, moist soil, sandy soil
preferred soil pH: neutral-alkaline
minimum temp: -15°C
USDA zone: 7 to 8
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.
Well drained, neutral or alkaline soil, in full sun.
From seed, often self-sows
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.