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Uses

Toxic parts

When grown on nitrogen rich soils, especially those that have been fed with chemical fertilizers, this plant can concentrate nitrates in the leaves. Nitrates are implicated in stomach cancers.

Edible uses

Notes

Root - raw or cooked[1][2][3][4][5]. A mild flavour and somewhat mucilaginous texture[K]. When boiled, the roots resemble salsify (Tragopogon hispanicus)[1][3][6].

Leaves - raw or cooked[1][3][7][4][8][6]. The very sharp leaf-spines must be removed first[9][5], which is quite a fiddly operation[K]. The leaves are quite thick and have a mild flavour when young, at this time they are quite an acceptable ingredient of mixed salads, though they can become bitter in hot dry weather[K]. When cooked they make an acceptable spinach substitute[10]. It is possible to have leaves available all year round from successional sowings[K]. Flower buds - cooked[1][10]. A globe artichoke substitute[11][5], they are used before the flowers open. The flavour is mild and acceptable, but the buds are quite small and even more fiddly to use than globe artichokes[K]. Stems - raw or cooked[3][12]. They are best peeled and can be soaked to reduce the bitterness[7][5]. Palatable and nutritious[3][6], they can be used like asparagus or rhubarb[11] or added to salads. They are best used in spring when they are young[13]. A good quality oil is obtained from the seeds[3].

The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[14][9][15][5].

Unknown part

Flowers

Leaves

Material uses

A good green manure plant, producing a lot of bulk for incorporation into the soil[K].

Unknown part

Oil

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Blessed thistle has a long history of use in the West as a remedy for depression and liver problems[16]. Recent research has confirmed that it has a remarkable ability to protect the liver from damage resulting from alcoholic and other types of poisoning[16].

The whole plant is astringent, bitter, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, hepatic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[3][14][17][18][10]. It is used internally in the treatment of liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis and poisoning[10]. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use[10]. Silymarin, an extract from the seed, acts on the membranes of the liver cells preventing the entry of virus toxins and other toxic compounds and thus preventing damage to the cells[19]. It also dramatically improves liver regeneration in hepatitis, cirrhosis, mushroom poisoning and other diseases of the liver[20][10][16]. German research suggests that silybin (a flavonoid component of the seed) is clinically useful in the treatment of severe poisoning by Amanita mushrooms[20]. Seed extracts are produced commercially in Europe[20]. Regeneration of the liver is particularly important in the treatment of cancer since this disease is always characterized by a severely compromised and often partially destroyed liver[K].

A homeopathic remedy is obtained from equal parts of the root and the seed with its hulls still attached[3]. It is used in the treatment of liver and abdominal disorders[21].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Green manure

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - if sown in situ during March or April, the plant will usually flower in the summer and complete its life cycle in one growing season[K]. The seed can also be sown from May to August when the plant will normally wait until the following year to flower and thus behave as a biennial[K]. The best edible roots should be produced from a May/June sowing, whilst sowing the seed in the spring as well as the summer should ensure a supply of edible leaves all year round[K].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Silybum marianum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in any well-drained fertile garden soil[1][22]. Prefers a calcareous soil[11] and a sunny position[22].

Hardy to about -15°c[22]. The blessed thistle is a very ornamental plant that was formerly cultivated as a vegetable crop[1][15][10].

Young plants are prone to damage from snails and slugs[22]. Plants will often self sow freely[K].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Silybum marianum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Silybum marianum.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Silybum marianum
Genus
Silybum
Family
Compositae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
?
Herbaceous or Woody
?
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
?
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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"image:Thistle April 2010-2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thistle April 2010-2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


"image:Thistle April 2010-2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thistle April 2010-2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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References

  1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.6 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.53.63.73.83.9 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.14.2 Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.5 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.16.26.3 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
  7. ? 7.07.17.2 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.19.2 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.610.710.8 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.111.211.3 Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
  12. ? 12.012.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.114.214.3 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.115.2 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.116.216.3 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
  18. ? 18.018.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
  19. ? 19.019.1 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.120.220.3 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  21. ? 21.021.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  22. ? 22.022.122.222.322.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  23. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

"image:Thistle April 2010-2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

Facts about "Silybum marianum"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyCompositae +
Belongs to genusSilybum +
Functions asGreen manure +
Has common nameMilk Thistle +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part +, Flowers +, Leaves +, Root + and Stem +
Has edible useCoffee substitute +, Unknown use + and Oil +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeBee +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has growth rateVigorous +
Has hardiness zone7 +
Has imageThistle April 2010-2.jpg +
Has lifecycle typeBiennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useOil +
Has mature height1.2 +
Has mature width1 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAstringent +, Bitter +, Cholagogue +, Diaphoretic +, Diuretic +, Emetic +, Emmenagogue +, Hepatic +, Homeopathy +, Stimulant +, Stomachic + and Tonic +
Has primary imageThistle April 2010-2.jpg +
Has search namesilybum marianum + and x +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral +, Alkaline + and Very alkaline +
Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameSilybum marianum +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +