I can't see the difference between the species of thistles but they have one feature that is easy to identify: their seeds.
This pollen loaded bumble bee on this roadside thistle (Cirsium vulgare), gave me just one chance to take a shot and it attacked me immediately as I pushed the button on my camera.
Plants of the genus Carduus are sometimes called plume-less thistles, while Cirsiums, plumed thistles.
At this time of the year, they are all ready to disperse their seeds.
These are the seeds of the plumed thistle ready to fly with the wind.
The silvery seeds attached to the thistledown fill the air, shining in the sunshine.
Visit Scenic Sunday for many beautiful scenes.