Woolly Thistle (Cirsium eriophorum)

Everything about the Woolly Thistle is big. It is a big plant with big flower heads which turn in to big woolly seed heads later in the season. It is the 'bigness' of the plant that distinguishes it from other thistles.

This is not a common plant, I have only seen it at Durslton but I suspect it does occur elsewhere in Dorset on the calcareous soils of the downs and cliffs.

Flowering from July until September it is September that the very large, white woollen seeds heads, looking a bit like cobwebs, appear. It is popular plant with bees and other insects and I have seen three bumblebees on one flower head, all different species but all absorbed in the lovely deep purple coloured flowers.

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