Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Hybrid thistle

Having finished writing a long report, I was in need of some fresh air, so pottered off to Castor Hanglands. I wasn't really botanising, just trying to clear my head, but I then spotted a thistle that looked odd. The flower structure was like Cirsium arvense, but a somewhat deeper and redder shade of purple than usual, and the stem was partially winged. It was growing close to a patch of C.arvense, but there was also a very typical C.palustre growing close by.

Winged stem

Reddish-purple flowers

The intermediate features fit the hybrid between C.arvense and C.palustre, which goes by the snappy name of C. x celakovskianum. It seems to be a fairly rare cross, and doesn't seem to have been recorded from VC32 before, though I don't suppose many people look that hard at thistles!

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