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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

22 July, 2010

Slender Thistle (Carduus tenuiflorus)

This is possibly the most difficult thistle to identify because it looks, at first glance, like the very common Creeping Thistle. However, it does not grow in the same dense clusters as the Creeping Thistle and is somewhat shorter too. The flower heads are a paler pink and come in narrower 'brushes'.

This is an uncommon species in Britain and is found mainly near the coast, especially on cliffs in the south of England. There is a lot of it on the cliff tops near St Adhelms Head and it also occurs on the Purbeck Ridge at Ridgeway Hill. I expect it does occur elsewhere but those are the only two places I have seen it so far.

It flowers from June to August and is at its 'best' about now although this is a plant that is never really at its best, it is a bit of a nondescript thistle which not much going for it!