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The world’s largest thistle may be located in Orangeburg County.

An 11-foot, 6-inch thistle can be found in the back yard of Rick Streeter on Neeses Highway. He first noticed the thistle three months ago.

“It’s just been growing like crazy,” Streeter said. “I was going to cut it down, then I just watched it grow and said let’s see what happens."

A thistle is a weed that normally lays flat and typically grows in areas of dry soil.

Thistles are classified as an invasive weed in the United States. There are more than 10 identified species. The thistle growing in Streeter’s yard is classified as a Cirsium vulgare or bull thistle.

Streeter said he researched the current world record for the tallest thistle in Guinness World Records. His is 42 inches taller than the recorded 8-foot record-holding weed.

Streeter said he was not tending to the chivalrous weed, blaming mother nature for its growth.

“I haven’t done anything to it,” Streeter said. “This was all of the rain and sunshine we’ve had. I just let it grow naturally,” Streeter said.

Streeter said Charles Davis of the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service visited him to verify the height of the weed and classify what species of thistle was growing in his yard.

Streeter said Davis verified the weed is a bull thistle.

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Although it is classified as an invasive weed in the United States, the thistle has significance elsewhere.

It is the national flower of Scotland, where the Order of the Thistle is awarded for chivalry.

Streeter said the process for Guinness World Records to verify the thistle as the world's tallest will take several months.

Streeter said he is in fear the thistle will die before it is officially documented, so he wanted to have proof of the recorded height.

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Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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