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 grows on walls, where it is on the increase, and on railway banks, roadsides, and waste ground. The habit is erect. The plant is smooth. The stems are short, stout, leafy, wavy, much-branched. The leaves are stalkless, deeply-divided nearly to the base, or lyrate, the segments linear, oblong, long or short, distant, irregular, toothed, smooth, the upper auricled, and half-clasping. The flowerheads are yellow, broad, in a loose corymb, with spreading rays. The involucre is broadly bell-shaped, smooth, the outer phyllaries are few, small, with dark tips. There are awl-like bracts below the heads. The achenes are hairy, silky, ribbed. The plant is 1-2 ft. high, flowering- from March to September, and is a herbaceous annual or biennial.
The habitat of this plant is meadows in Wilts. It differs from Field Thistle (C. pratensis) in not being stoloniferous. The root consists of spindle-shaped tubers. The leaves are deeply divided nearly to the base, another distinction. The lobes are distant, narrow, 2-4-cleft. The flowerheads are 1-3, the involucre ovoid, depressed below. The plant flowers in August and September, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is moist mountains, subalpine pastures, and rivulets in North Britain. The habit is creeping, then erect. The plant is stoloniferous, the rootstock creeping, the roots fibrous. The stem is cottony, branched, furrowed, white. The leaves are large, soft, lance-shaped, irregularly lobed, or entire, toothed, fringed with hairs, white below, the radical leaves clasping, stalked, the upper egg-shaped, half-clasping, with a heart-shaped base. The flowerheads are purple, few, large, and handsome, not prickly, included at the base, egg-shaped, blunt, below slightly downy. The phyllaries are egg-shaped or lance-shaped, long-pointed, closely pressed, the inner entire, the outer blunt-pointed. The fruit is small, smooth, brown, with brown pappus. The plant is 2-4 ft. high, flowering from July to September, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is alpine rocks and cliffs. The plant has the rosette habit. The root-stock is short, bearing stolons. The stems are stout, erect, downy or cottony, simple, leafy. The leaves are oblong, lance-shaped, smooth above, cottony below, the lower ovate to lance-shaped, the upper lance-shaped, without stalks, with distant teeth in each case. The flowerheads are purplish-violet, with a scent like heliotrope, in small terminal, dense corymbs, few. The involucre is ovoid or subcylindrical. Thephyllariesarehairy, appressed, oblong, blunt, woolly, the inner ones longer. The florets project. The anthers are purple, with hairlike appendages. The fruit is brown, smooth, ribbed, with a dirty - white pappus, the inner feathery. The plant is 3-15 in. high, flowering from July to September, and is a herbaceous perennial.