Arizona Thistle

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100_7822Cirisium arizonicum is a member of the sunflower family. It will grow to around 4 feet and has bright red sometimes a pinkish color slender flower heads that are about 2 inches long. The leaves are toothed with spines and spines at the tip as well. They are hairy, alternate, and can up to 2 inches long. This plant is found on roadsides and clearings as well as Pondarosa pine forests. It is found at elevations from 3,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level and blooms from May to October. There are 17 species of Cirisium in Arizona.

The Southern Paiutes used to roast the stems of the thistles. Some would even break open the stems to get to the inner pith. This can be used in soups and stews. The Navajo use this species to treat eye problems. A cold infusion can be used to treat sore or even swollen eyes. A tea can be made to treat headaches and fevers that come with colds and flues.

There have been reports of some thistles containing a carcinogenic compound. If you choose to eat these types of plants or use them for medicine, do your research on this beforehand.

 

 

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