MEADOW THISTLE

Cirsium dissectum

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

Pappus: pappusZpossible (white, simple)
pappus8aug pappus8sep pappus8sept pappus8oct pappus8nov

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8purple
 
inner
inner8white
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZMany
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8spines stem8thorns
prickles
contact
contactZlowish
 

3rd June 2015, Little Hills, VC41, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Grows to 80cm high with purple 'shaving-brush' flowerheads. The basal rosette leaves have long stalks but there are only very few on the stem and they clasp the stem.


3rd June 2015, Little Hills, VC41, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


3rd June 2015, Little Hills, VC41, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The purple disc florets atop have long protruding styles. The flowerhead measures between 23 and 30mm acros when open. They are usually solitary but this specimen has another just below it beginning to sprot from the stem.


3rd June 2015, Little Hills, VC41, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The bracts/phyllaries are lanceolate, green beneath purple higher up, tapering to a point and are strung with white cottony hairs between each.


3rd June 2015, Little Hills, VC41, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The stems are covered in short white cottony hairs appressed to the stem Here another flower starting to grow from the side.


3rd June 2015, Little Hills, VC41, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The leaves are semi-shiny green and hairless atop but with short white cottony hairs on the underside. They are pinnately lobed with a short sharp spine at the end of each lobe.


Easily mistaken for : Melancholy Thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum) for it too has leaf-free, spine-free cottony stems and usually single flowers but it is usually shorter (only up to 80cm as opposed to 1.2m for Melancholy Thistle), the bracts around the flowerhead are usually purple-tipped and the flowerhead itself is usually smaller - 25-30mm across rather than 30-50mm across for Melancholy Thistle.

Hybridizes with :

  • Marsh Thistle (Cirsium palustre) to produce Cirsium × forsteri which unusually for a thistle hybrid is not uncommon (with both parents) in Ireland and Southern Britain and is actually the commonest hybrid thistle in the UK. It has an interrupted wings on the stem which are spiny and like Meadow Thistle the stems are cottony-hairy, with leaves intermediate between the two.

No relation to : Meadow Saffron (Colchicum autumnale), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Meadow Crane's-bill (eranium pratense), Meadow-Foam (Limnanthes douglasii), Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata) or Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Growing to 80cm high below ground it has creeping runners and above ground stems which are not winged. It loves peaty ground such as fens, wet meadows and the less acidic bogs. They are similar to Melancholy Thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum) in that they too have solitary flowers atop an unbranched stem, but the stem is more white with hairs on Meadow Thistle and the phyllaries spear-shape tapering to a point (whereas on Melancholy Thistle the phyllaries lack cottony hairs stringing between them being instead green with purple tips and have a prominent mid-rib , and the lower phyllaries are wholly green, taper more quickly.


  Cirsium dissectum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
 family8Daisy & Dandelion family8Asteraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Cirsium
Cirsium
(Thistles)

MEADOW THISTLE

Cirsium dissectum

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]