** If there is one thing I must convey here is that if you are unsure of what you are touching or going to consume DO NOT ** get the correct books or do the research before you venture out. As in most cases a very small nibble or portion could/can kill you. **
Thistles can be found in areas with disturbed soils. Along road sides (be careful of pesticides or vehicle waste) and are another plant that came from Europe and is now considered a weed.Look for the large purple flowering top. It has very pronounced leaves with spikes along the edges. It has a flowering bulb on the top of the plant that is usually red and that even has thorn like projections on it.
Scrape off the outer sheath of the thistle and you can either consume the bottom portion of the stalk or the top. I prefer the top of these as they seem to taste better and are softer. You remove the spines from the stem. You can either boil them or eat raw as they are. Not one of my favorites …but will sustain you. The first year growths you can boil the stems and consume those.
**The only known look a like is horse nettle so please be sure!**
So hopefully this gives us one more to add to the books.