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Cirsium - Thistle - Edible Weeds and Bush Tucker Plant Foods

Cirsium

Thistle

Other names: Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare), Scotch Thistle (Cirsium acanthium)
Introduced From: Europe, North Africa, western Asia
Family:
Habitat: Pastures and wastelands, from the coasts to dry inland regions
Uses: The peeled stems are fine vegetable that tastes like choko. Steamed, boiled or put in stews etc.
Season: Harvest the stalks early in summer, when flowering has just begun
References: Low (Weeds), Richardson and Shepherd

Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is the most common of the Cirsium species in Australia and New Zealand. Tim Low says that they are a most fine vegetable and a good introduction to eating weeds. Also, the thick tap roots can be eaten raw or cooked, but are only palatable on young thistles before they flower. The flowerbases are also edible like an artichoke, but too small to bother with.

Cirsium vulgare - Spear Thistle - Bush Tucker Plant Foods
Photo: Cirsium vulgare, Spear Thistle. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW. High resolution (1008 x 1202).

Cirsium vulgare - Spear Thistle - Bush Tucker Plant Foods
Photo: Cirsium vulgare, Spear Thistle. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW. High resolution (1137 x 1538).

Cirsium vulgare - Spear Thistle - Bush Tucker Plant Foods
Photo: Cirsium vulgare, Spear Thistle. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW. High resolution (1382 x 1128).

The soft down inside the seed head makes an excellent source of tinder for fire making.

Cirsium vulgare - Spear Thistle - Bush Tucker Plant Foods
Photo: Cirsium vulgare, Spear Thistle. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW. High resolution (1600 x 1200).

Cirsium vulgare - Spear Thistle - Bush Tucker Plant Foods
Photo: Cirsium vulgare, Spear Thistle. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains NSW. High resolution (1600 x 1200).

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