Tag Archives: Cirsium vulgare

Going to seed: Spear Thistle

“Purple Prose, A term used to describe ¬†literature where the writing is unnecessarily flowery.” (The Urban Dictionary) and also if it is writ in purple ink.

What is an unnecessary Flower?

I am going to be unnecessarily flowery now. I didn’t mean to do two purple post in a row, the last one was supposed to be orange.

Spear Thistle, Cirsium vulgare.

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear ThistleHeavy rain a few nights ago weighed the Thistles down so that they are now laying across the path at around waist level. They are very prickly and full of Bumblebees and pushing through them is a very exciting experience. Fizz can get underneath them.

Fissles! (Cirsium species)

I was walking back from the Badger sett yesterday evening and it was miserable and cold and then suddenly the wind cleared the sky and everything lit up.

Self PortraitIn the hedgerow the thistles were blazing and I had to stop playing ball with my little friend and take some pictures.

Creeping Thistle

Creeping Thistle

Creeping ThistleThere is no sun today and so I thought I could write a little piece about thistles and how to tell the different species apart.

I am just going to do the three species most commonly encountered around here and they are the Spear Thistle, Marsh Thistle and the one above that we call Creeping thistle.

Starting with Cirsium arvense, the Creeping Thistle, you may know it as the Canadian Thistle. Wikiwotsit also offers the names “Lettuce From Hell Thistle” and “Cursed Thistle” but I think that we can discount those, I think Wiki makes a lot of this stuff up.

The flowers are paler than the other two but that isn’t a lot of help if you are not used to seeing them. The clincher is that the stems are bare of prickles, the other two are very prickly. It has very prickly leaves, shorter and stubbier than the others but look for the bare stems that is the give away.

Creeping Thistle

Creeping Thistle

Creeping Thistle

Creeping Thistle

Creeping ThistleThe species most likely to be confused with Creeping Thistle is probably the Marsh Thistle.

Cirsium palustre, The Marsh Thistle. It has multiple smallish flowers a bit like the creeping thistle. There are even more of them and they are a darker colour. The leaves are much longer and thinner and it has a very prickly stem. If it has a prickly stem it is not a Creeping Thistle. The leaves also often have a purple tinge or purple edges.

Marsh Thistle

Marsh Thistle

Marsh Thistle

Marsh Thistle

Marsh Thistle

Marsh ThistleThe last thistle that I want to look at is the Spear Thistle.

Cirsium vulgare, the national flower of Scotland and one of DEFRA’s “Injurious Weeds”, There is an Act of Parliament against this flower (also the Creeping Thistle) and you can be fined ¬£1000 for allowing it to spread on your land. Also you can be shot for it (I think) Needless to say this is the one that I love the best. (My Mother was Scottish)

This is a large thistle with a big flower. The leaves are spear shaped and once you have seen a few it is unmistakeable even as a puppy.

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear ThistleAnd that is my post about Thistles.

Something Good is Gonna Happen

I have been watching these plants grow for weeks. I am very excited because I know what it means and I know what is going to happen. Summertime.

Spear ThistleThese are Spear Thistles, Cirsium vulgare. There are loads of them here and I am waiting for them to flower.

Spear ThistleSo I have to write this post tonight because there isn’t any time left.

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear Thistle

Spear ThistleAnd what is so exciting about Spear Thistles?

Heh heh heh… Just wait and see.

All the little animals love Spear Thistle.

Female Marmalade Hoverfly

Female Marmalade Hoverfly

Female Marmalade Hoverfly

Female Marmalade Hoverfly

Female Marmalade Hoverfly

Female Marmalade Hoverfly

Female Marmalade Hoverfly

Female Marmalade HoverflyThe little animal above is a female Marmalade Hoverfly. You can tell the sexes apart and this goes for all Hoverflies, because the male’s eyes meet in the middle and the female’s are spaced apart, as above.

BTW. Sorry I have just got to add something and I am sorry if you have already read this post and moved on. You might think that picture above is sharp. It is nothing to do with me or my camera. The picture is as sharp as it is because that little fly is not moving at all. It is perfectly still and balanced in mid air. It is an awesome feat of flying. Don’t you think?