Photo by J.A. Spendelow
Courtesy of U. S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Insect also use thistles as a food source. Bees make particularly sweet honey by utilizing the plant. Thistles are the main or only food source for many butterfly caterpillars. Other insects like flies, wasps, and beetles feed on the pollen and they then become food for other wildlife.
People have found many species of thistle to be edible. There isn’t any specific mention of Flodman’s thistle being used, but this is most likely because of poor documentation of the uses of plants by the native people of the plains, especially in comparison to other parts of the country. But, Europeans, early settlers, and native people used thistles as food and medicine. They particularly liked to eat the roots and stems. The achenes (seeds) are bitter when they are raw, but they can be roasted for a better taste.
Thistle is considered undesirable as feed for livestock.