Collected on August 18, 1941, this specimen was found just outside of Philipsburg, Pennsylvania by Leroy Henry. Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is a European plant introduced in Pennsylvania, commonly found in disturbed sites, roadsides, and fields. As the species is unpalatable to most grazing livestock, bull thistle is often in abundance in grazed fields. It is not uncommon to find an American goldfinch pecking at thistle flower heads and eating the seeds. Recognizable by their spiny stems and flowers (usually purple), thistles are in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), many of which are native to the United States.
Botanists at Carnegie Museum of Natural History share pieces of the herbarium’s historical hidden collection on the dates they were discovered or collected. Check back for more!