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Onopordum acanthium or nicknamed cotton thistle is a plant native to Europe and Asia. Cotton thistle grows abundantly in North America but is not native to the continent. The plant has spikey and rough leaves and grows purplish pinkish flowers. Cotton thistle blooms during the summer. It requires dry heat to thrive normally. 

Cotton thistle is used for ornamental purposes because of its large colorful flowers. Occasionally the plant has been used to treat cancer and ulcers. The plant is an invasive species in North America and hard to kill off because of its drought resistance. Cotton thistle grows densely together making it hard for livestock and animals to graze in certain areas.