Plant Form annual or biennial herb to 150 cm tall; stems woolly with spiny wings to 10 mm wide. Leaves in lower parts to 550 x 150 mm, deeply dissected, spiny; stem leaves decurrent on stem. Flowerheads purple; with dark spreading spines. Fruits 4-5 mm long, with feathery pappus bristles (parachuting hairs) ca. 10 mm long. Distinguishing Features Dark spines versus yellowish spines in Scotch thistle.
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