One of the more common summertime flowers in Red Rock Canyon is also one of the thorniest flowers: thistle! Red Rock Canyon is home to two species of thistle: Mojave thistle (Cirsium mohavense) and desert thistle (Cirsium neomexicanum). These tall plants, ranging up to 10 feet tall, are very attractive to pollinators and often you’ll see bees on top of the white to purple flower heads. Don’t get too close though as you’ll notice the spiny lobed leaves and branches. Mojave thistle can often be spotted along springs, seeps, and within wet meadows while desert thistle is often spotted along slopes and in drier soils.
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