Milk Thistle Leaf, aka Silybum Marianum, is native to the Mediterranean region and grows wild throughout Europe, North America and Australia. It got the name Milk Thistle Leaf because it grows with white veins appearing as though milk were spilled upon them. According to many legends, this appearance of milk is actually the milk of the Virgin Mary. The plant once was cultivated, with its young leaves being used as a salad in the spring, or sometimes boiled. The young stalks of the Milk Thistle were peeled, and soaked in water to make them less bitter. The second spring the root is eaten like salsify, and the receptacle is pulpy, tasting and eaten much like artichokes.