Thistle Fasciation.

All thistles belong to the daisy family which make up the largest family of flowering plants in the UK after grasses. The flower heads are made up of a number of individual flowers or florets. The leaves and nectar of thistles are a good source of food for insects, and some birds, such as Goldfinch, eat the seeds.  So it is always worth taking a good look at thistle plants for other wildlife. On a patch of thistles, I have been watching there are a number of deformed plants where many stems appeared to have fused together into one clump about 6 inches across. I think they are Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare). These variations are called  Fasciation from the Latin root meaning “band” or “stripe”), it can be caused by a random genetic mutation, a physical injury to the plant and sometimes a parasite.

May growth.


June flowering starts. The flower buds are developing and getting larger and the joined bud on the top of the fused plant has opened into an elongated flower head.

thistleflower head

9 thoughts on “Thistle Fasciation.

    • Great minds. — I look forward to seeing your post. I had to google deformed plants as I had not seen fasciated plants before – had been watching this monster thistle grow over the last month while out walking.

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  1. Andy – at first glance at the title of the post, I misread it as fascination but the word “fascination” would have worked well here in this post too. Wow – what huge thistles! I had a neighbor many years ago, who had three thistle feeders for feeding goldfinch. Every day they’d change the seed and throw out the spent seed … it was not all spent seed, some were still viable seeds. I know this as they flipped them my way and thistles grew like crazy in my garden – I asked them to flip it into a garbage can but they had an attitude since I said their basset hound barking under my bedroom window at 4:00 a.m. was annoying. 🙂

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      • I didn’t know that thistles grew that tall – they have good growing conditions for sure. Yes, these thistles were hard to get rid of as they are rhizome roots and their roots grow horizontally. It is almost impossible to get rid of these type of thistles … I have a stand-up tool to grab weeds and twist it out that way. It was called a “Weed Hound” and works very well, especially with those pesky thistles which I finally no longer have.

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  2. Pingback: Daily Walk in Difficult Times 78 – Jessica's Nature Blog

  3. So interesting. Just saw this on winderjssc ( She referred bloggers over to your blog. Glad I stopped by – wanted to see the bloom this unusual thistle produced. It is stunning. Have plenty of thistles in America, but have never seen anything like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Thistle fasciation (update). | Continued Reflections from my world.

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