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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

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.