Pollinator Plants :: An ode to Thistles

Some of the flowers most loved by the bumble bees are often considered weeds, like the extremely pokey thistle flower. Here -and in so many temperate climates around the world- thistle flowers bloom abundantly all summer and are extremely popular sources of pollen and nectar for our local pollinators like this bumble bee.

bumble and thistle

The leaves and stalks of this plant are covered in spikes that hurt to touch even after the plant has dried. So although we remove thistles growing in the middle of paths, we are always sure to leave plenty in borders and along the hedgerow for the bumblebees and butterflies to enjoy. I’ve heard thistles have many uses from fibers made from the stalks to medicine made with the seeds. This year I’m trying out a recipe for vinegar flavored with thistle flowers.

butterfly and thistle

This article was written a few months ago and originally appeared on my blog where I post regularly about pollinators, plants and ecology, check it out if your interested. Either way, I have a question for you:

Do thistles grow in your garden or a field nearby? let me know in the comments, if so!

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