American Basket Flower –

American basket flower

American Basket Flower –

This purple flower is similar to several species of thorny thistles.  Most people think it is just a bad weed when they see it from a distance.  But unlike all those invading thistles that resemble it, the American basket flower is a native and a wonderful plant.

The ‘basket’ that holds the purple and cream-colored petals looks like a neatly woven Indian basket.  It looks to have thorns and stickers in it, but you can touch it all over and the basket is only soft and fluffy.

Butterflies and bees love this plant.  It smells like vanilla.  Each flower head produces a big crop of large black seeds much like sunflowers.  These seeds fall to the ground and are eaten by rodents and birds all fall and winter.  Native plants always have multiple ways they help the ecosystem around them.  Do you see the lady bug on this basket flower?

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