- Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
- Synoyms: Scotch Thistle, Bell Thistle
Biennial of disturbed ground. Widespread and common. Pinnately lobed leaves are spiny. Stems are cottony, winged and spiny between leaves. Flower heads, 20 to 40mm across, comprise purple florets topping ball of spiny bracts, seen July to September. Height up to 1m
Seedling plants appear from autumn until April in pastureland on bare ground. The cotyledons differ from those of creeping thistle in that they are borne on short stalks. The true leaves are also longer and more bristly with a downy appearance to the upper surfaces. The seedling plants quickly form rosettes which remain for at least one year before producing flowering stems.