Cirsium neomexicanum  New Mexico Thistle
PERENNIAL HERB.  Tall grayish-green plants with extremely spiny leaves and flowerheads.  Resembles many other thistles but can be identified by the downcurved lower rows of bracts on the flowerheads.  Flowerheads spherical to slightly flattened.  Pink flowers bloom in April-May.  In the Empires, occasional in sandy, sunny grassland washes.  Attracts butterflies.
FAMILY:  Asteraceae (Composite or Daisy Family)