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Wonderful rosette - thistle?

Observed: 15th April 2012 By: babu1
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Wonderful rosette - thistle?
Thistle rosette 2
Outer leaf underside

Dark and very pale green pinnate leaves. Spines on leaf edge. Yellow green underside.
Rosette c37cm diameter. White hairs on stalk and underside veins.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) interacts


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Milk thistle

Thankyou ophrys (and others).
Having read info on EOL, I will look out for this plant in other possible sites in the area.
Bit of a puzzle, though: is this an annual or bi-annual as stated in various sources? Does it depend on when in the year the seed germinates? This definitely 3rd year for this plant - exactly same spot.

S Tomkins