Rural Lifestyle

Biennial Thistles of Iowa

Biennial thistles are commonly found in Iowa's pastures, roadsides, CRP and other un-tilled areas.  Musk (Carduus nutans ) and bull (Cirsium vulgare) thistle are exotic species (originate from outside of North America) and are responsible for the majority of problems caused by this group of plants. Read more about identification, characteristics and removal methods.


Wild Parsnip - a Weed to Watch

Conditions have been especially favorable this year for wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), a common roadside weed in Iowa. Wild parsnip plant parts contain a substance called psoralen, which can cause a condition known as “phytophotodermatitis”. This reaction occurs when plant juice gets on the skin and then the skin is exposed to sunlight. Learn how to identify and control this weed.