Easily confused with :
Globular Globe-thistle (Echinops sphaerocephalus) and to Globe-thistle (Echinops exaltatus) and to their mutual hybrid
Echinops × pellenzianus [plants in the same Echinops Genus].
Not to be semantically confused with : Common Blue Sow Thistle (Sonchus plumieri), Globeflower (Trollius europaeus) nor with Globe Artichoke (Cyanura cardunculus) nor
Globe Daisy (Globularia ) (the latter being non-native and not growing wild in the UK) [plants with similar names, some in differing families]
Some similarities to : Small Teasel (Dipsacus pilosus) but that has a smaller globular flower and the flowers are white and the leaves not lobed but rather ellipsoid to oblong. Also, Small Teasel is not in the same family but rather in the Teasel Family (Dipsacaceae)
Slight resemblance to : Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum) because that too has almost spherical flowers with a steel-blue hue and holly-like prickly leaves, but the leaves are also steel-blue. It is also much shorter and only found near the sea, and is not even in the same family.
No relation to :
Eryngium [plants with a slightly similar Genus name which also have nearly spherical flower-heads but they are in the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) (and not the Asteraceae family)].
There is still the slight? possibility that the above photographs represent either
Glandular Globe-thistle; it all depends upon your interpretation of 'strongly re-curved phyllaries', 'slightly curved phyllaries' and 'phyllaries erect or slightly curved at tip', or of 'clasping the stem', etc. Anyway, Blue Globe-thistle is botanically reported at Crosby, whereas neither of the other two Globe-thistles are. It's your choice, take your pick. However, if you opt for one of the other globe-thistles, then please bear in mind that Blue Globe-thistle is the only one with a BSBI-mapped hectad presence where the photographs were taken ~
Not native to the UK, but found mainly in gardens but also naturalised beside railways and other waste places. The above specimen naturalised on older sand-dune slacks on the Sefton Coast.
A QUATERNARY COMPOUND and a QUINOLINONE ALKALOID
A quaternary quinoline alkaloid Echinorine is found in the fruits and all the other organs of many Echinops species and is the only alkaloid present. It is only found during the beginning of germination or during stem elongation, at all other times is absent because it is completely destroyed by the plant in the process of making use of it. A related quinolinone alkaloid called
Echinopsine (aka N-methyl-4-quinolone) is also found as an artefact of the storage or extraction processes as are all other similar reported substances.