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Pontic Blue Sow-thistle

Cicerbita bourgaei

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, roadsides, wasteland.

Purple, many petals
Pale purple flowers. The petals each have 5 teeth on their flat-tipped ends.
The fruit is a pappus which is a parachute-like structure consisting of a seed surrounded by feathery white hairs.
A bristly perennial plant with pinnately lobed leaves. The stem is thick.
Other Names:
Bourgè's Bittercress.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Cicerbita bourgaei is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is commonly known as Bourgè's bittercress and is native to Europe and Western Asia. It is a perennial herb that grows to be about 30-80 cm tall and flowers in late summer and autumn. It is typically found in grasslands, meadows, and roadside verges. It is edible and can be used in salads and sandwiches. The leaves have a bitter taste and are used in small quantities to add flavor to other dishes.


The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, also known by its scientific name Cicerbita bourgaei, is a beautiful and unique plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This plant is native to Europe and can be found growing in rocky meadows, alpine pastures, and other mountainous regions.

The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle has a tall stem that can reach up to 80 cm in height. The stem is covered in short hairs and has few leaves. The leaves are oblong and have a pointed tip. They are also covered in short hairs and have a bluish-green color.

The most striking feature of the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is its flower. The flower head is composed of many small, blue-violet flowers that are arranged in a dense cluster. The flower head can measure up to 3 cm in diameter and is surrounded by several layers of bracts. The blooming season for this plant is usually from July to September.

The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is a plant that is not commonly known, but it has many interesting properties. For example, it has been used in traditional medicine as a natural remedy for various ailments. The plant contains flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Additionally, the plant is a great source of food for insects, particularly bees and butterflies. The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle provides nectar and pollen for these insects, which play a crucial role in pollination and the ecosystem as a whole.

Unfortunately, like many other plant species, the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is threatened by habitat destruction and climate change. Human activities, such as the expansion of agriculture and urbanization, have caused the loss and fragmentation of the plant's natural habitats. Climate change, on the other hand, has disrupted the plant's blooming cycles and altered the timing of its life cycle events.

The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is a beautiful and unique plant that has many interesting properties. It is a valuable source of food for insects, and it has medicinal properties that have been recognized for centuries. However, like many other plant species, it is threatened by human activities and climate change. It is our responsibility to protect and preserve this and other plant species for future generations.

The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is an important plant for biodiversity, as it provides habitat and food for various animals and insects. The plant's flowers attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths, which in turn help to pollinate other plants in the surrounding area.

The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is also a valuable plant for agriculture and horticulture. It is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks due to its attractive flowers. Additionally, the plant has culinary uses, and the leaves can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable.

Conservation efforts are needed to protect the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle and other plant species from threats such as habitat loss, climate change, and overexploitation. Efforts such as habitat restoration, the creation of protected areas, and public education about the importance of biodiversity can help to ensure the survival of these plants.

It is also important to recognize the cultural and traditional uses of the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle and other plants. Many indigenous communities have long used plants for medicinal and spiritual purposes, and preserving these practices can help to maintain cultural diversity and knowledge.

The Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is a fascinating and important plant that has many uses and benefits. However, its survival is threatened by human activities and climate change. It is important to take action to protect and conserve this and other plant species, both for their intrinsic value and for the benefits they provide to ecosystems and human society.

One interesting fact about the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is that it is a perennial plant, meaning that it can live for more than two years. The plant has a deep root system that allows it to survive in harsh environments such as high-altitude mountains and rocky meadows. The plant's ability to survive for multiple years also makes it a valuable resource for ecosystems, as it provides a stable source of food and habitat for animals and insects over an extended period of time.

Another unique aspect of the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is its role in folklore and mythology. In some cultures, the plant is believed to have spiritual and magical properties. For example, in some parts of Europe, the plant is associated with good luck and is thought to protect against evil spirits. In other cultures, the plant is used in traditional medicine and is believed to have healing properties for various ailments.

Overall, the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle is a fascinating and valuable plant that has many uses and benefits. From its role in biodiversity to its cultural and traditional significance, this plant is a testament to the beauty and importance of the natural world. By taking action to protect and preserve the Pontic Blue Sow-thistle and other plant species, we can ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for ourselves and for the planet.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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