Syn.: Ascalea nutans (L.) Hill
Family: Asteraceae Bercht. et J. Presl
Carduus nutans
Distribution: Eurasian species, northward to southern Scandinavia, southward to the Mediterranean region, eastern boundary runs through Poland and Ukraine. Also occurs in Central Asia, but in a different subspecies than in Europe. Introduced in Siberia, Kamchatka, in North America (one of the most serious weeds in USA), South America (central part of Chile) and Australia – invasive species. Carduus nutans is part of a variable complex that has been treated as one to several species or as a single species with several subspecies or varieties. These pictures represent the nominate subspecies.
Ecology: It grows on grasslands and pastures, but also in ruderal habitats. It blooms from June to July.
Description: Biennial herb, 30–150 cm tall. Stem erect, simple or branched, more or less hairy, wings up to 10 mm, triangular or palmate, with a spine up to 8 mm. Leaves sessile, oblong-elliptical, lobed, with distant and usually palmate lobes. Capitula 20–45 × 20–65 mm, depressed-globose, nodding, involucral bracts 1.5–3(–4) mm wide, outer and middle bracts suberect to deflexed, all florets hermaphrodite, corolla 16–24(–28) mm, purple. The fruit is an achene with a pappus 13–24 mm long.
Note: The genus Carduus contains about 95 species which are distributed in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Carduus nutansCarduus nutans
Carduus nutansCarduus nutans
Carduus nutans
These images were taken in Czechia, Moravia, Mohelenská hadcová step (by Ladislav Hoskovec, June 2004) and Slovakia, Bretka (by Jindřich Houska, 4. 7. 2006).