Side of dirt road.
San Diego County, California, US
Unlike many thistles which are introduced and invasive, Cobweb Thistle is a native species with numerous subspecies endemic to California.
This rare ground-crowding form of the Cobwebby Thistle is endemic to the central California coast. The vast majority of known records are from a short stretch of northern San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County.
The more common form is a tall, erect plant like most other regional thistles.
The flower was red and prickly. The base of the flower is also prickly but green and purple. the stalk is long, purplish, and skinny. The leaves are many but small. The leaves are green but prickly and skinny. The base of the plant is green and thistle-like. The plant was found in rocky soil near a cliff/steep hill. There are boulders, dead plants, scraggly tough-looking plants surrounding. The plant is about 2 feet high and 2 feet in diameter. There are about 5 others in a 20 foot diameter.