Onopordum illyricum - Illyrian Scotch Thistle

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae

Onopordum illyricum

This tall member of the Daisy family is found throughout the Iberian Peninsula and eastwards as far as the Balkans. It blooms from May until July.

After a while one could be forgiven for thinking that all plants that flower on the Iberian Peninsula have thorns, and this one is no exception. Onopordum illyricum grows in abandoned farmland and on the edges of fields and roads and can be distinguished from the many other thistles that grow in this area by the downward-turned bracts below the flowers. Like globe artichokes the buds of this flower are sometimes cooked and served as a vegetable.

Onopordium illyricum in a small meadow, Algarve, Portugal

These specimens were photographed in the Algarve, Portugal, in May.

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