The Pitcher’s thistle is a native thistle that grows on the beaches and grassland dunes along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The silvery and spiny-leaved plant thrives on windy, dry, and sandy foredunes in the Great Lakes Basin. Today, because of shoreline development and invasive species colonization, this thistle is a threatened species–it is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Pitcher’s thistle only blooms once after growing for several years.
Walking through foredunes on your way to the beach may trample and kill these plants before they can reproduce. So please watch out for the Pitcher’s thistle: stay on the wooden walkways and established trails.
Learn more about the Pitcher’s thistle: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pitcher's Thistle Fact Sheet