Ladakh Thistle
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Ladakh Thistle
ative Photo: Satish Phadke
Common name: Ladakh Thistle • Ladakhi: མེགཐམ་Megtham
Botanical name: Cousinia thomsonii    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Arctium thomsonii

Ladakh Thistle is an erect spiny thistle-like plant, with a cottony stem and deeply pinnately lobed spiny leaves which are white-cottony beneath. and with large erect pink or purple flower-heads with spherical, spiny, woolly-haired involucre. Flower-heads are 5-6 cm across, involucral bracts rigid, linear with spreading or recurved tip spine. The inner ones are shining papery. Basal leaves are 12-25 cm long, stalked, linear in outline, with numerous unequal lobes ending in a long rigid spine. Stem leaves are stalkless, broader. Stem is up to 45 cm tall. Ladakh Thistle is found on stony ground in the Himalayas, from Afghanistan to W. Nepal and Tibet, at altitudes of 3000-4200 m. It is common in Ladakh and Lahaul. Flowering: July-August.

Identification credit: Satish Phadke Photographed in Lahaul-Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

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