Written by Diane Beauton
Milk Thistle is also known as Holy Thistle, Silybum, Blessed Milk Thistle, Carduus Marianum, Our Lady's Thistle, Wild Artichoke, Lady's Thistle, Marian Thistle, Shui Fei Ji, Mediterranean Thistle, St. Marys Thistle, just to name a few.
This plant was spotted during the Mothers Day hike in Las Llajas Canyon, Simi Valley, Ca. Characterized by sharp needle like leaves, it's best to admire from a distance or the lens of a camera. The leaves are very distinctive, with white marbling on the shiny green leaves. Botanists beware... Look but don't touch!
Although found in some gardens, it is illegal to sell or buy milk thistle in many states such as Washington State because it is highly toxic to livestock when consumed in large quantities. California reports up to 4 tons per acre in heavily infested areas.
Milk Thistle is also used as an herbal remedy for cleansing the liver and used to treat the effects of ingesting poisonous mushrooms.