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Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten. (Carduus lanceolatus L., Cirsium lanceolatum (L.) Scop., non Hill)

, : Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten. (Carduus lanceolatus L., Cirsium lanceolatum (L.) Scop., non Hill). Journal of Ecology Oxford 81(1): 177-191

Cynareae, tribe Cardueae Cass., subtribe Carduinae Dumort. (Dittrich 1977). A biennial or short-lived monocarpic herb. In the juvenile phase individuals form a single rosette with taproot to 70 cm, and obovate-lanceolate prickly leaves. The first leaves are only slightly pinnatifid, but on mature rosettes the leaves are deeply pinnatifid and undulate, with the segments usually 2-lobed; the upper lobe is toothed near the base, the lower lobe is entire. Lobes and teeth have long stout spines (c. 8 mm long). In the generative phase a flowering stem is formed, 30-200 cm tall. Stem erect, interruptedly spiny-winged and cottony furrowed. Stem leaves decurrent, prickly-hairy above and rough or cottony beneath. The short-stalked flower heads solitary or in small clusters (2-3). Heads up to 5 cm long; the slightly cottony involucre 3-3.5 cm long, about two-thirds as broad as long. Involucral bracts green, 15 cm wide, and in many rows, the outer bracts with the long point recurved and spiny-tipped, and the inner bracts with the point erect. The pale red-purple (rarely white) corolla 27-35 mm long. The cypselae (referred to as 'seeds' for convenience in some later sections) c. 3.5 mm long and c. 1.5 mm wide. air-dry mass 1-4 mg, yellow streaked with black, and with white-feathered pappus (20-30 mm long). Several sub-species of dubious taxonomic status have been recognized (Hegi Fl. ed. 3, VI). Var. hypoleucum (DC.) Clapham (C. nemorale Rchb.) is of uncertain taxonomic status. Leaves hardly undulate, densely cottony beneath; branches few, strict, or none; heads few, ovoid-globose (Fl.Br.Isl.). Cirsium vulgare is most common in grasslands, road verges, fertile spoil heaps, building rubble and coastal dunes. It is also present in woodland clearings, rock outcrops, arable fields, on banks of rivers and streams, in hedgerows and along paths. Largely absent from pure hayfields and hay pastures and from deeply shaded and waterlogged habitats.


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