Herbs, Milk Thistle - Silybum marianum
Creme de la Crop

Herbs, Milk Thistle - Silybum marianum

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Named for the bold white splashes on its glossy leaves, said to be from Mary’s milk. Fast-growing, 3–5', with leaves up to 8x24". Native to the Mediterranean. Use young leaves cooked or in spring salads; remove spines first! Flower stalk puts out large purple thistle flowers that were eaten like artichokes. Silymarin, found in the flowers and seeds, has been used to strengthen and regenerate liver tissue. Will self-sow; pull unwanted volunteers before they get big and prickly. May present a way to outwit raccoons: Chris Mazur of Apple River, IL, planted some around his sweet corn patch, and the raccoons ravaged the rest of his garden, but did not molest his corn. Likes dry soil, very tolerant of drought. 

Height: 3-5'

Hardiness: Annual

Days to Maturity: 90