A couple of posts back I published a composite photograph of a flower head of Nodding Thistle (Carduus nutans) It is such a photogenic species, I decided to add some more photographs.
Remember that this species is in the family Asteraceae , so what you are seeing here is a “head” containing hundreds of individual small flowers. Some members of this family have two types of flowers in their head. See my earlier post on Oxeye Daisies (http://www.gkochert.com/fibonacci-flowers/) if you need to refresh your memory about this. Thistles like this one have only one type of flower… ray flowers. This view from above shows various stages in the maturation of the flowers. The most immature flowers are the white structures in the center. As you progress away from the center you see increasingly mature flowers; those around the very edge of the flower head are the most mature.
In the next post I will show the plant itself.