Marsh Thistle - Cirsium palustre

Scientific Name: Cirsium palustre.

English Name: Marsh Thistle.

French Name: Le Cirse de marais

5 Key Characters:
  • the stems have winged spines along more or less the entire length.
  • flower heads in crowded clusters.
  • erect, hairy, branching plant 30 - 150 cm high.
  • leaves spiny, dark green and hairy on top.
  • flower heads emerge from purplish somewhat spiky bases.
Lookalikes: Welted Thistle Carduus crispus, which is dull green and hairless.

Habitat: Marshes, meadows, damp grassland, open woodland and hedges. It is the host plant for a variety of insects who lay their eggs in the stems and have larvae which live inside them eg Golden Bloomed Grey Longhorn beetle Agapanthia villosoviridescens and certain hoverflies.

Flowering Period: July-August-September.

Status: Very common.

References and Further Reading:
The Wildflower Key by Francis Rose.

Flowers of Europe by Oleg Polunin.

Tela Botanica.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
All photos will enlarge in a new window if you click on them. Row 1 Detail of a colony on the side of a bief (millstream) in the Aigronne Valley, photographed in May with Golden Bloomed Grey Longhorn Agapanthia villosovirdescens.

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