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Lindsay's Flora Blog - 21st September

Posted: Sunday 20th September 2020 by trustadmin

Carline Thistle Carlina vulgaris

Carline thistle is a spiny biennial plant that can be found on dry, well grazed, chalk grassland and can be seen from July to September, although the dead heads persist for much longer, often into the following spring. A good place to find the plant here is along the east coast track from Houmet Herbe to Raz but also Corblets Quarry, the Mannez Garenne and around Fort Albert, Mount Hale and the Arsenal.

It is a striking plant to look out for at this time of year and one of my favourites. Its distinctive brown and golden flower heads look like a daisy that is dying or a thistle that's gone to seed, but they are, in fact, in full flower. The composite flower heads consist of brown florets surrounded by a fringe of golden bracts and in the bright sunshine, they glisten silver and gold. These relatively late-flowering plants are attractive to a wide range of butterflies.

Apparently the flower head was once used as a humidity gauge because the bracts close in the higher humidity typical of impending rain!

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