Cirsium hookerianum Nutt.
The white thistle is a perennial growing to about 4 feet
tall. An erect, prickly herb with alternate, spiny-toothed leaves. The white
flower heads are tubular florets above overlapping rows of overlapping brackets.
The fruits are hairless, ribbed, seed like and tipped with feathery bristles. It
can grow in light sandy, loamy, or clay soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral
and basic (alkaline) soils. It requires direct sunlight and grows in moist
bottoms, open rock slopes, and cultivated fields. It is found in the
Northwestern U. S. and California.
Food Uses: The root is cooked, boiled as a vegetable, or added to soups and stews. It can also be dried and stored for later use. The root is likely to be rich in inulin, a starch that cannot be digested by humans. This starch thus passes straight through the digestive system and, in some people, ferments to produce flatulence.
Planting: The seed is sown early in spring or autumn and germinates in 2-8 weeks.