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individual flower of thistle

Creeping Thistle

Sunday 12th August 2001, West Yorkshire

creeping thistlefloretON INDIVIDUAL plants of Creeping Thistle usually have either all female or all male flowers. With a pocket microscope I can see that each individual floret on this particular flowerhead stamenis covered with pollen, so these appear to be the stamens of male flowers.They have a sweet musky scent.

The upper leaves clasp the stem.

leaves clasp the stemCreeping thistleAlthough it's not as much as a problem as the bindweed, we never seem to be able to entirely clear our vegetable beds of this thistle. Thanks to its creeping root system it has the ability to pop up somewhere else, once you've dug up a single plant. Often several small plants will appear in a line running across the bed, following the line of the underground stem.

It's a shame that it gets out of hand so easily because those sweet-smelling, nectar-rich flowers attract bees and butterflies. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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