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UK Nature  > Wild Flowers  > Red Wild Flowers  >

Cirsium palustre




Scientific Name:   Cirsium palustre
Common Name:   Marsh Thistle

Cirsium palustre, or Marsh Thistle, is an herbaceous biennial (or often perennial) species of thistle. Found throughout Europe to central Asia, where it is particularly common on damp ground such as marshes, wet fields, moorland and beside streams. Common throughout the UK, it is a constant plant of several fen-meadow plant associations.

This is a tall thistle which reaches up to 2 m tall. It germinates in autumn and over-winters as a basal-rosette of spiny, narrow leaves that have spiny, dark purple edges. Upright stems develop the following year. The tips of the stems branch repeatedly and bear candelabra of dark purple flowers, 10 to 20 mm across with purple-tipped bracts. The later leaves that develop are lobed.

The flowers are produced from June to September and are occasionally white, in which case the purple edges to the leaves are absent. They are pollinated by bees, butterflies and flies. The seeds that mature are dispersed by the wind on fluffy carriers.











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