Four flower-color phenotypes were observed in a population of musk thistle (Carduus thoermeri Weinm.). This plant has been commonly referred to as C. nutans L. The four phenotypes were: purple corolla and purple pollen, pink corolla and white pollen, white corolla and purple pollen, and white corolla and white pollen. In four generations, 177 self-pollinated individuals of these four phenotypes produced 2123 progeny plants that were classified. Results support the hypothesis that three independent gene pairs were involved in determining the four flower phenotypes. The gene pairs have been designated P/p, W/w, and Pi/pi. It was postulated that all three dominant alleles, P, W, and Pi, must be present to produce both purple corollas and purple pollen. The p allele prevents color development in both corollas and pollen; the w allele eliminates color in corollas but does not affect pollen color; and the pi allele dilutes corolla color from purple to pink and eliminates pollen color. Height measurements of progenies of self-pollinated plants indicated that decreased plant height was associated with inbreeding. On the basis of the evidence presented, the musk thistle plants used in these experiments appear to belong to a single species.