The musk thistle (Carduus nutans), also commonly known as the nodding or nodding plumeless thistle, is an invasive species introduced into the United States around the middle of the 19th century. It has now spread to all of the lower 48 states (with the possible exceptions of Florida, Vermont, and Maine, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s there, as well) and the lower provinces of Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland. It’s a rather tall and somewhat striking plant with a large, and as you can see showy bloom. It is usually a biennial but in warmer climates can flower in its first year. Rather than there being single, large flowers, each of the purple threads in the flowerhead is technically a separate flower.