Common Name:- Slender thistle

Synonyms:- Carduus tenuiflorus var. pycnocephalus, Carduus tenuiflorus
subsp. pycnocephalus.

Meaning:- Carduus (L) Thistle.
                  Pycnocephalus (Gr) With a dense flower head.

General description:- Herbaceous plant, hermaphrodite, with woody stock.

1) Up to 80 cm. arachnoid-hairy above, tomentulose above.
2) Wings up to 5 mm wide, triangular, with an apical spine up to 5 mm.

1) Prolonged in wings along the stem and are more or less white and cottony in the
    lower part.
2) Alternate, simple, oblong, with 2 to 5 pairs of spiny palmate segments, with an
    apical thorn from 10 to 12mm length more or less spread out outwards.
3) Basal leaves of at least 20cm long.

1) Capitula 15-20 x 7-13 mm, cylindrical, subsessile or on peduncles up to 10 cm
    and 2 mm diam, solitary or in clusters of 2-3.
2) Involucral bracts, imbricate, arachnoid hairy.
3) Bracts, inner, up to 1,25 times as long as the middle, faintly 3-veined in the distal
    1/2, not scarious at the margin distally.
4) Corolla 10-14 mm.

1) Achenes, greyish, viscous, surmounted by a tuft of none feathery hairs. 4-5 mm,
    compressed, smooth; apical prominence small, shortly stipitate, clavate, entire.
2) Pappus 10-14 mm.

Key features:-
1) Involucral bracts widened in basal 1/3, at least 15 mm wide above. With mid-vein
raised at least in distal 1/2.
2) Inner involucral bracts longer than the inner middle.
3) Apical spine of leaf-lobes up to 12 mm.

Click here for a glossary of terms used.

Habitat:- Common weed of seashores, field margins, roadsides, olive groves, open
dry shrubby vegetation, etc. 0-1500 m.

Distribution:- Mediterranean area and SW Asia to Pakistan. Common and
widespread on Crete.

Flowering time:- Mar-June.

Photos by:- Steve Lenton