Altissimum? The first one of these I remember seeing was huge. Probably eight or nine feet tall, with a stem about three inches through at the base. Had another like it in the garden a couple of years ago. I let it grow until I was sure of the species, and it grew and grew. The Cherokee found several uses for tall thistle. They hoped it would help with dental pain, neuralgia, or overeating. The down was used as the tail on blow darts. Tall thistle grows AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Lenawee Co MI, 8/6/12. Aster family, Asteraceae.