Some resemblance to : Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense) but that has leaves with long sharp spines on and is taller at up to 2m.
Slight resemblance to
Alpine Saw-wort (Saussurea alpina) which has similar flower-heads but only two rows of much longer phyllaries, grows about 45cm high on mountains in Snowdonia, Cumbria, Scotland and eastern parts of Ireland, and has dark-green leaves with wavy teeth and which are covered in white hairs underneath. But
Alpine Saw-wort is in a differing genera than Saw-wort.
Uniquely identifiable characteristics
Distinguishing Feature : the pinnate leaves with small sharp bristle-tipped teeth and the Knapweed-type flower heads.
No relation to :
False Saw-wort (Crupina vulgaris) [a plant with similar name that looks a bit like Saw-wort], nor to
Sawara Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) [a coniferous tree] nor to
Saw-leaved Moon-daisy (Leucanthemum atratum) which belongs to the Dandelion & Daisy Family (Asteraceae).
In the Middle Ages the dye produced by Saw-wort was as highly valued as that produced by Weld and was used in several European textile centres. Used with alum as the mordant a pale lemon-yellow and an olive-green shade can be imparted to wool. It contains high quantities of the flavonoids Luteolin and its glycoside
Luteolin-7-O-Glucoside. The leaves contain
Luteolin-4′-O-Glucoside and the flavonoid
3-MethylQuercetin. The plant also contains Apigenin, yet another yellow flavonoid.
It is a dioecious plant, with male and female flowers on separate plants. If it is wished to propagate it by seed, then both sexes will be required. The photographs by Philip Bagshaw are of the female version of the plant, as is, purely by chance, the specimen shown from Waitby Greenriggs. It is perennial and grows on either slightly acidic or slightly alkaline but well-drained soils in old grassland, meadows, scrub, cliff tops, rocky streams and the margins or open parts of deciduous woodland.