Annual herb, to 1 m; branches bearing 3-partite yellow spines. Leaves petiolate, narrowly ovate, discolorous; margin undulate, toothed or, commonly, 3-lobed; base cuneate. Male capitula spherical, terminal. Female capitulum with phyllaries connate around the 2 achenes. Fruit 1-1.2 cm bearing numerous spines with hooked tips.
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