Farmland, grassland, meadows, scrub.
Large spiky, silvery-grey, globular flowers. Pollinated by butterflies, bees and wasps.
Hairy, cylindrical achenes, 7 or 8mm in length. The fruits ripen in September and October and the seeds are spread by the wind.
The leaves are large, sharply lobed and toothed, rather like those of a thistle. The upper surfaces of the leaves are stickily hairy. The lower surfaces are white and woolly. The leaves measure up to 14 inches (35cm) long. The stems are grey, hairy and slightly wrinkled.