One of the fun things about foraging or studying wild plants is that you always find hidden gems. I believe this spider is a Cross Orb Weaver. It doesn’t have an obvious cross pattern, but my understanding is that the patterns vary greatly and don’t always create a cross. I’m hardly a spider expert. If you have information or can more accurately identify this one, please leave a comment. It was about as big around as a nickle. Maybe a little larger.
I found this one living under the leaf canopy of a Sow Thistle Plant.
Sow Thistle is not a true Thistle. Any self respecting true Thistle has needle sharp, blood drawing stickers on them. Some Sow Thistles, as there are many varieties do have pickers but none so stiff and sharp as true ones. The Sow Thistle is however edible. It’s in the same Astereae family as the Dandelion and Sunflower.
Young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads and even taste a bit like lettuce. After they get a bit too bitter, use them as a pot herb. They are highly nutritious and delicious.
As always, make sure you have 100% identification that what you are eating is safe.
Just my opinion, I wouldn’t eat the spider raw or cooked.