Plant Form biennial taprooted herb to 1m tall, stems woolly to cobwebby with spiny wings ca. 10 mm wide. Leaves mostly on stem, 10-35 cm long and 3-10 cm wide, with spiny margins, leaf bases decurrent on stem. Flowerheads purple, on stalks to 3 cm long; with spreading yellowish spines. Fruits 4-5 mm long, with rough pappus bristles (parachuting hairs) 7-9 mm long. Distinguishing Features Yellowish spines versus dark spines in Illyrian thistle.