Open the Advanced Search

Glandular Globe-thistle

Echinops sphaerocephalon

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.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


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, 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, Pontic Blue Sow-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:
120 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, scrub.

Grey, 5 petals
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.
Other Names:
Great Globe-thistle, Pale Globe-thistle, Round-headed Globe Thistle.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Echinops sphaerocephalon, commonly known as Round-headed Globe Thistle, is a species of thistle in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is known for its blue-green foliage and spiky, globe-shaped flowers. The flowers typically bloom in late summer and early fall, and are attractive to bees and other pollinators. This plant is also popular as a ornamental garden plant and is drought-tolerant.


Glandular Globe-thistle, also known as Echinops sphaerocephalon, is a flowering plant species that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This beautiful plant is native to Europe and is commonly found in meadows, grasslands, and on the edges of woods. It is an attractive plant that produces striking globular flower heads that add color and vibrancy to any garden or landscape.


Glandular Globe-thistle is a tall plant that can grow up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall. Its stems are erect and are covered in glandular hairs. The leaves of the plant are deeply lobed and are also covered in glandular hairs. The flowers of the plant are its most distinctive feature. They are arranged in globular heads that are about 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 inches) in diameter. The flower heads are made up of numerous tiny flowers that are purple-blue in color. The plant blooms from July to September, providing a long season of color to any garden.


Glandular Globe-thistle is a relatively easy plant to grow and care for. It prefers well-drained soil and can grow in full sun or partial shade. The plant is drought tolerant and can withstand some frost. It is also resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance plant.


Glandular Globe-thistle can be propagated by seed or by division. Seeds can be sown in the spring or fall, and should be planted about 1 cm (0.4 inches) deep in the soil. The plant can also be propagated by division in the spring or fall. This involves digging up the plant and dividing the root ball into smaller sections, each with its own stem and root system.


Glandular Globe-thistle is a popular plant for both ornamental and medicinal purposes. The plant's attractive flowers make it a popular addition to gardens, and it is often used in wildflower meadows and cottage gardens. The dried flowers of the plant are also used in dried flower arrangements.

The plant has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and has been used to treat conditions such as arthritis, fever, and respiratory infections.

Glandular Globe-thistle is a beautiful and versatile plant that is easy to grow and care for. With its striking flowers and low-maintenance nature, it is a popular choice for gardens and wildflower meadows. Its traditional medicinal uses also make it a valuable plant for those interested in herbal medicine.

More Information

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Glandular Globe-thistle also has ecological benefits. The plant is an important source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, helping to support local biodiversity. The seeds of the plant are also an important food source for birds, particularly finches.

Glandular Globe-thistle is a great choice for gardeners looking to attract pollinators and support local wildlife. Its drought tolerance and resistance to pests and diseases also make it a great option for those looking for low-maintenance plants.

While Glandular Globe-thistle is generally a hardy and resilient plant, it is important to note that it can be invasive in some areas. Gardeners should always check with their local authorities before planting this species to ensure that it is not considered invasive in their area.

Glandular Globe-thistle is a beautiful and versatile plant that can add color, biodiversity, and medicinal value to any garden or landscape. With its striking flowers, easy cultivation, and ecological benefits, it is no wonder that this plant has become a popular choice for gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.

One interesting fact about Glandular Globe-thistle is that it is sometimes used as a natural dye. The flowers contain a pigment that produces a blue-green color when extracted and used to dye fabrics and fibers.

In addition to its traditional medicinal uses, Glandular Globe-thistle has also been studied for its potential therapeutic properties. Research has shown that the plant contains compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could have potential applications in treating conditions such as arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

The plant has also been used in folklore and superstition. In some cultures, it was believed that carrying a sprig of Glandular Globe-thistle would protect the bearer from evil spirits and witchcraft.

Glandular Globe-thistle is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and a wide range of uses. From its striking flowers and ecological benefits to its potential medicinal and therapeutic properties, it is a plant that is worthy of admiration and respect. Whether you are a gardener, a herbalist, or simply a lover of nature, Glandular Globe-thistle is a plant that is sure to capture your imagination.

Another interesting feature of Glandular Globe-thistle is its ability to survive in harsh conditions. It is a plant that is well-adapted to dry and rocky environments, making it a great choice for xeriscaping and water-wise gardening. The plant's deep roots enable it to access water and nutrients from deep within the soil, making it a good choice for soil stabilization in erosion-prone areas.

In terms of its ecological role, Glandular Globe-thistle is a member of the Asteraceae family, which is known for its important role in supporting pollinators and other beneficial insects. The flowers of the plant provide a valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other insects, while the seeds provide food for birds.

Finally, Glandular Globe-thistle has some cultural significance as well. In the language of flowers, the plant is said to symbolize strength and perseverance, making it a popular choice for gifts and decorations.

Overall, Glandular Globe-thistle is a fascinating and versatile plant that offers a wide range of benefits, from its ornamental beauty and medicinal properties to its ecological and cultural significance. Whether you are a gardener, a herbalist, or simply a lover of nature, Glandular Globe-thistle is a plant that is sure to capture your imagination and inspire you to explore its many uses and benefits.