Blessed Thistle

Cnicus benedictus

I always feel like there is a little bit of history in my garden whenever I grow Blessed Thistle.   In the Middle Ages it was widely cultivated in European herb gardens for its medicinal properties.   Since then, it has naturalized in most of Europe.


Blessed Thistle is an erect spiny annual herb that thrives in hot dry weather.  It produces thistle like yellow flowers that are at least and inch and a half in diameter.

Growing Information

Blessed Thistle is very easy to start from seed directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.      While it can tolerate poor soil, Blessed Thistle can easily reach two feet in height in well nourished soil.  Plants should be spaced at least a foot apart to avoid crowding.

Each plant yields such a bounty that for personal use one would never need more than half a dozen plants in any given year.


Wear gloves when handling and harvesting this very bristly plant.    Wear safety glasses if you are hanging the plants to dry overhead.

There is an upside to such a prickly plant as a row of it makes a splendid barrier to discourage wildlife traffic though the garden 🙂

If you have room in a freezer, Blessed Thistle is one plant that freeze dries very well.