Did you know that this photo shows over 100 individual flowers?
The structures that most people consider flowers in the sunflower family are dense clusters of flowers.
These specialized structures are called flowering heads (also known as capitula). Instead of pumping a bunch of energy into making one flower showy, Texas thistle (like other members of the family) put their energy into producing a lot of little flowers. Instead of keeping these flowers spread out, the plants have evolved to pack them all together in a single showy package. As one of the most widespread and diverse plant families on earth, this strategy has been proven quite effective!
More From Wikipedia
Cirsium texanum is a species of plants in the tribe Cardueae within the family Asteraceae found in North America. Common names include Texas thistle, Texas purple thistle or southern thistle. The species is native to northern Mexico (Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas) and the southern Great Plains of the south-central United States (primarily Texas, Oklahoma, and eastern New Mexico with additional populations in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri).
Cirsium texanum is a biennial or perennial herb up to 80 cm (32 inches) tall. Leaves have small, narrow spines along the edges. Flower heads are sometimes produced one at a time, sometimes in small groups, each head with light purple disc florets but no ray florets.
- The Plant List, Cirsium texanum Buckley
- Flora of North America, Texas or Texas purple or southern thistle, Cirsium texanum Buckley
- Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
- CONABIO. 2009. Catálogo taxonómico de especies de México. 1. In Capital Nat. México. CONABIO, México D.F.