Cirsium discolor spiny biennial or perennial, herb, second year stem 1-2 m tall, branching near top, usually hairy but not wooly, finely ribbed but not winged.
Leaves alternate, stalked, those of first year a rosette, blades to 50 cm long, 20 cm wide, stem leaves becoming progressively smaller above, stalkless, numerous deeply pinnately lobed, lobes spine-tipped, white, wooly below, dark green, slightly hairy above, small upper leaves closely surrounding base of flower heads.
Flowers purple, all disk flowers, tubular, radially symmetrical, in heads with bracteate base 2-3 cm long, urn-shaped, bracts narrow, densely overlapping, tips of inner bracts colorless, elongate, flower heads usually solitary; blooming July-Oct.
Fruit dry, 1-seeded, white-plumed, wind dispersed through winter.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open areas, meadows, fill, roadsides.