Plant name: Yellow thistle
Botanical name: Cirsium horridulum
Virtues: Large yellow flowers that appear in late spring and early summer. Attracts pollinators and hosts the larva of several butterfly species.
Foliage: Prickly and bristly.
Flowers: Yellow pincushion-like flowers open from large prickly buds. A purple-flowered form occurs inland.
Habit: Herbaceous perennial growing 1 to 3 feet tall from a slightly wider rosette of leaves.
Origin: Shores, marches and sandy fields of the Eastern Seaboard west to Texas.
Cultivation: Grow in full sun, in moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils. Tolerates drought and prefers poor soil. USDA Zones 3 to 8.