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Spear Thistle: life at the sharp end

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Spear Thistle: life at the sharp end

Thistles can be a problem to identify at first, they all look the same! That is not true of course and once you make a start they are not too difficult really. Whilst my field guide lists eighteen species of thistle some of those are either absent from the United Kingdom or are very rare and not found usually down here in Dorset so actually there only eleven to chose from. Be warned, though, there are also a number of look-a-likes to confuse things even further!

The spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is very common, indeed its scientific names means 'common thistle'. It is a good one to get to know early on in your quest to identify species of thistles (if you have that quest of course!). It has the classic thistle head but the main identifier, however, is its sharp, pointed, spear-shaped leaves that give the plant its name. Those multiple spears are truly diagnostic and also truly painful if you don't treat them with respect.

The spear thistle is common in open areas and roadsides from July through to October and is a popular plant with all sorts of insects and so it is well worth keeping an eye on them.


 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 3 years 4 months ago

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