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Woolly Thistle: the friars crown

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Woolly Thistle: the friars crown

Everything about the woolly thistle (Cirsium eriophorum) is big. It is a big plant with big thorns and big flower heads which turn in to big woolly seed heads later in the season. It is the 'bigness' of the plant that distinguishes it from other thistles.

This is not a common plant, I have only seen it at a handful of places but I suspect it does occur elsewhere in Dorset, especially on the limestone soils of the coastal downs and cliffs.

Flowering from July until September it is September that the very large, white woollen seeds heads, looking a bit like cobwebs, appear. It is popular plant with bees and other insects and I have seen three bumblebees on one flower head, all different species but all absorbed in the lovely deep purple coloured flowers.

Although its accepted common name is the woolly thistle in some places it is known as the friar's crown!


 

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This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 9 months ago

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