This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This plant is an alien, or native perhaps, in meadows in Sussex. The leaves are linear to lance-shaped, the lower leaves broader, toothed. The flowerheads are purple, radiant. The involucre is not spinous. The appendages of the phyllaries are entire or rarely cut, erect, rounded. The outer phyllaries have appendages deeply divided nearly to the base, the inner are few, entire, the rest irregularly cut. There is no pappus. The plant is 1-1 1/2 ft. high, flowering from July to September, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is dry pastures and waste places. The habit is erect, with grooved stems, with soft hair, with few branches. The leaves are deeply divided nearly to the base, with inversely egg-shaped segments, which are entire or lobed. The flowerheads are large and purple, the flower-stalks smooth, with an outer row of sterile florets. The brown involucral bracts have fringed downy tips and margins. The grey, downy fruit has pappus of the same length. The plant is 2-3 ft. in height, flowering between July and September, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is fields and dry pastures and woods. The habit is erect. The stem is smooth, slender, rigid, grooved, with numerous leaves, and the heads are in corymbs. The leaves are lobed, with the distant lobes larger towards the extremity, divided nearly to the base, coarsely toothed. The oblong flowerheads are terminal corymbs, with purple flowers. There are scales between the florets. The fruit is grey, smooth, with many rows of dirty-white pappus. It is 2-3 ft. high. It flowers late, in August, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is pastures, roadsides, waste dry places, often near the coast. The habit is erect. The tall stems are not winged, furrowed, hairy, much branched, above. The leaves are rough above, downy beneath, deeply divided nearly to the base, half-clasping the base, not running down the stem. The flowerheads are large, woolly, the woolly involucre rounded, the florets purple, the phyllaries lance-shaped, having spines turned back. The fruit is smooth, with feathery pappus. The plant is 3-5 ft. in height, and flowers in July and August, being a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is dry pastures, usually calcareous. The plant has the rosette habit, with radical leaves and a usually stemless flowerhead, which, however, sometimes elongates in moist spots. The leaves are usually stalkless, lance-shaped, smooth, and deeply divided nearly to the base, white beneath, with sharp spines, forming a protection against cattle, the upper surface hairy or smooth. The flowerhead is solitary, smooth, egg-shaped, the flowers purple or crimson. The fruit is smooth, brown, the pappus dirty-white. It is 8-18 in. in height (when producing stalked heads). It flowers from July to September. The Ground Thistle is a herbaceous perennial.
Creeping Field Thistle(Cnicus arvensis, Hoffm.). - The habitat of this plant is fields and waste places, roads, etc. The habit is erect, from a creeping root, and the stem is not winged, grooved and angular, cottony or smooth. The leaves are lance-shaped, oblong, nearly stalkless, with lobes deeply divided nearly to the base. The heads are corymbose, smooth, egg-shaped with a short flower-stalk, the phyllaries lance-shaped, closed, associated, the flowers purple or white. The fruit is smooth, shining, the pappus dirty-white. The plant is 2-4 ft. high, and is in flower between July and September. It is a herbaceous perennial, increased by the creeping rootstock.