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Deep lilac-coloured flowers with green to purple bracts, seldom spiny.
A flattened, glossy achene with a pappus of white feathery hairs on the end.
Alternate leaves along the stems. Stalkless with wavy, spiny margins. Variably lobed and occasionally cottony on the undersides.
2 metres tall
The root and leaves are edible, raw or cooked. Obviously, the prickles would need removing first before eating raw. The taste is fairly insipid but its very nutritious. The stems can be cooked and eaten too.
Never consume a wild plant unless you are 100% certain that it is safe to eat and you know that you have identified it correctly.
The only common UK Thistle with fragrant flowers. Smells like perfume.
Californian Thistle, Canada Thistle, Canadian Thistle, Corn Thistle, Cursed Thistle, Field Thistle, Green Thistle, Perennial Thistle, Small-flowered Thistle, Way Thistle.
Ditches, farmland, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, seaside, wasteland.