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Lindsay's Flora Blog - 10th August

Posted: Sunday 9th August 2020 by trustadmin

Dwarf or Stemless Thistle Cirsium acaule

Dwarf Thistle - or perhaps more appropriately Stemless Thistle - is a native plant, growing primarily in south/southeast Britain in short calcareous grassland. Within the Bailiwick, however, I believe it is only found on Alderney.

It is a low stemless - or almost stemless – plant and the only British thistle with no stem so although the leaf rosettes are similar to those of many other thistles this is its distinguishing feature. The purple flowerheads are usually solitary, occasionally in a small cluster (up to three), 20 to 40 mm borne directly on the basal leaf rosette. The deep green leaves are up to 15cm long, shiny, pinnately lobed, with variable-sized spines along the edges, and white hairs on the under-surfaces.

I usually think about this being an Autumn plant as that is often when I find it but actually it is in flower from July-October and I found this one on the Albert Glacis on 22nd July. Other places it regular grows are along the east coast track and in the short grassland above Corblets Quarry.
 

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