This section is from the book "Sub-Alpine Plants Or Flowers Of The Swiss Woods And Meadows", by H. Stuart Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Sub-Alpine Plants: Or, Flowers of the Swiss Woods and Meadows.
Perhaps the commonest Thistle in Alpine districts. Stem 12-18 inches high, pubescent and naked for a long distance above, and bearing a single terminal capitulum. Leaves glabrous, glaucous below, lanceolate-acute, pinnatifid and deeply lobed, the segments being distant, ciliate-spinous. Wing of leaves broad at base, and these suddenly narrowed. Involucral bracts ovate, tip of innermost bracts thin, not spiny. Fruit 3 times as long as broad. Capitulum solitary and very longly peduncled. Flowers purple.
Alpine and sub-alpine meadows and pastures (up to 8700 feet on the Col du Galibier), and in clearings of woods. July to September.
Eastern, Central, and Western Alps, Jura, Pyrenees.
Very prickly and mostly low herbs. Outer involucral bracts very prickly, inner ones shining or coloured, long and spreading like the rays of a star. Chaffy scales between the florets. Achenes silky, with a feathery pappus.
A small European and Asiatic genus, chiefly distinguished by the involucral bracts.
An erect biennial, 6-12 inches high. Leaves toothed or pinnatifid, very prickly; the lower ones narrow and slightly cottony, the upper ones broader and nearly glabrous. Flower-heads hemispherical, 1-1 1/2 inches wide, 2-4 in a terminal corymb. Outer involucral bracts broadly lanceolate, with small prickly teeth or lobes; inner ones linear, entire, smooth and shining, with spreading tips.
Dry, hilly pastures and waste places. July, August.
Europe and Russian Asia; British Isles.
Biennial. Stem simple, very short or wanting, or occasionally 6 inches high, in which case it is leafy, bearing a single terminal head. Root-leaves shortly petioled, lanceolate, pinnatifid, glabrous and very spiny, and forming a large rosette. Capitulum large and handsome, sometimes 3 or 4 inches in diameter when expanded. Inner involucral bracts linear and of a beautiful silver white, brownish at the base.
Dry Alpine and sub-alpine pastures (often abundant), up to 8200 feet. July, August.
Eastern, Central, and Western Alps, Pyrenees, Jura, Spain, Central Europe from Alsace to the Var.
The silvery grey heads of this handsome Carline Thistle are very decorative, and useful to adorn ladies' hats.
Involucral bracts, imbricate, scarious, fringed or spiny. Receptacle bristly. Flowers all tubular; outer ones usually larger, neuter; inner ones perfect. Fruit compressed.
One of the largest genera, and especially numerous in the Mediterranean and Caucasian regions, with a few American species.
Stem about a foot high, erect or ascending, simple or slightly branched above, very often covered with cottony webs or wool. Leaves soft, lanceolate, acute or acuminate, entire; lower leaves narrowed into a foot-stalk, slightly webbed; upper stem-leaves decurrent. Involucral bracts ovate or lanceolate, anastomosely veined, adpressed, with a membranous margin at the apex, fringed or serrate. Pappus one-third as long as the achene. Ray-flowers bluish, rarely white; disk-flowers purple or pink.
Alpine and sub-alpine meadows and pastures, and margins of woods, especially in stony, bushy places; common.
Eastern, Central, and Western Alps, Vosges, Erzgebirge, Jura, Cevennes, Pyrenees.