Synoyms: Scotch Thistle, Bell Thistle
Biennial of disturbed ground. Widespread and common. Pinnately lobed leaves are spiny. Stems are cottony, winged and spiny between leaves. Flower heads, 20 to 40mm across, comprise purple florets topping ball of spiny bracts, seen July to September. Height up to 1m
Seedling plants appear from autumn until April in pastureand on bare ground. The cotyledons differ from those ofcreeping thistle in that they are borne on short stalks. Thetrue leaves are also longer and more bristly with a downyappearance to the upper surfaces. The seedling plantsquickly form rosettes which remain for at least one yearbefore producing flowering stems.