Falconer's Thistle
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Falconer's Thistle
ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Falconer's Thistle • Nepali: गिद्ध प्वांखे Giddh pwankhe
Botanical name: Cirsium falconeri    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Falconer's Thistle is a very common spiny plant found in Western Himalayas. It was named for Hugh Falconer, 19th century Scottish doctor, geologist and botanist in India. It is a tall noticeable perennial herb, with the whole plant covered by white-cream spines. Stems are robust with narrow wings. Flower-heads are spherical, cream colored, somewhat drooping, 7-8.5 cm across. Just below the flower-heads are densely woolly bracts with long pale spines up to 2.5 cm. Leaves are linear, narrow tipped, with triangular toothed or lobed margins carrying pale spines. Leaf surface is also covered with spines. Falconer's Thistle is found at altitudes of 2700-4300 in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to SE Tibet. Flowering: August-September.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Kashmir.

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