Description: Erect annuals to perennial herbs; stems with spiny wings; hairs multicellular or cobwebby.
Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, toothed to deeply pinnatisect, spines on lobe apices.
Heads terminal, solitary, or in dense clusters and sessile; heads cylindrical to hemispherical; involucral bracts many-seriate, unequal, rigid and spine-tipped; receptacle flat, densely hairy. Florets all tubular, bisexual, fertile, 5-lobed, purple to pink.
Achenes ovoid, striate, glabrous; pappus of numerous simple bristles in several rows, basally united into a ring.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, Europe & Asia. Australia: 4 species (naturalized), all States except N.T.
The record of C. macrocephalus is unsabstantiated.
Text by L. Murray
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Flower heads hemispherical, 2–5 cm diam.; leaves concolorous, sparsely hairy on both surfaces||Carduus nutans|
|Flower heads cylindrical, c. 1 cm diam.; leaves green and pubescent above, white and cobwebby below||2|
|2||Flower heads on short terete peduncles; wings on stems more or less discontinuous and broken into spiny lobes to 5 mm wide||Carduus pycnocephalus|
|Flower heads sessile; wings on stems continuous with spiny lobes to 10 mm wide|
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