Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Marsh Thistle (Cirsium Palustre)

This was nearish to the stream at Tormisdale. Thistle classification is not one of my strong suits - so I hope I have the identification correct?

Hitting the books I am now less than convinced that this is a Marsh thistle - this plant had very woolly stems (thick white hairs) and Marsh thistle stems seem to be smooth as the proverbial... Which leaves me at a loss - Milk thistle ((Silybum marianum) perhaps?
Malcolm assures me that it is indeed a Marsh thistle...

The woolliness or otherwise of the stem is not a key ID feature (Malcolm)


  1. You were right the first time. It's a marsh thistle. The multiple heads are very distinctive, as are the spiny wings up the stem, which is usually hairy to woolly, despite what your book says.
    Milk Thistle is very different, with solitary heads and white patterning on the leaves. Besides, this would be a first record for the Hebrides, let alone Islay! And there are only a few records for Scotland - all introduced.

  2. Ok. Neither Keble Martin or Moore (Mitchell Beazley) mention woolly stems in the Marsh - but they do mention this in other species - hence my confusion. Their illustrations are also indicative of smoothness.... Just goes to show...