Creeping Thistle
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Creeping Thistle
ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Creeping Thistle, Field Thistle, Canada Thistle
Botanical name: Cirsium arvense    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Carduus arvensis, Serratula setosa, Cirsium setosum

Creeping Thistle is a tall herbaceous perennial plant growing 1-3 ft, forming extensive clonal colonies from an underground root system that sends up numerous erect stems each spring, reaching 1–1.2 m tall. The stems often lie partly flat by summer but can stay erect if supported by other vegetation. The leaves are very spiny, lobed, up to 15–20 cm long and 2–3 cm broad, smaller on the upper part of the flower stem. The flower-heads are 1-2.2 cm in diameter, pink-purple, with all the florets of similar form (no division into disc and ray florets). The seeds are 4–5 mm long, with a feathery pappus which assists in wind dispersal. The plant also spreads underground using Rhizomes. Creeping Thistle is native throughout Europe and northern Asia, and widely introduced elsewhere. In India it is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to C. Nepal, at altitudes of 250-3600 m. Flowering: March-August.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Delhi & Nubra Valley, Ladakh.

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