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Dieren en planten

Mens en Milieu

Carline thistle


15 to 45 centimeters


flowers: yellow-brown


July through September


seed spread on dry days in the winter

life span:

biennual or perennial

  • Dut: Driedistel
  • Lat: Carlina vulgaris
  • Eng: Carline Thistle
  • Fren: Carline vulgaire
  • Ger: Kleine Eberwurz (Golddistel)
  • Dan: Bakketidsel
Carline thistle, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Carline thistle

Carline thistle is a natural hygrometer. During dry sunny days, the petals are spread out. If the air is humid, the petals start to curl up and if it rains, they form a dome over the heart of the flower. Carline thistle makes a very good dried plant. In fact, it is someitmes more obvious in the winter when all other growth is less prominent. The dried stems and flowers often remain upright till the next spring. Even in the winter the plant still acts as a hygrometer. Carline thistle is popular among songbirds such as linnets and goldfinches and various insects.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Carline thistle, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Carline thistle grows on sunny, dry calcium-rich, humus and moderately nutrient-poor sandy soils, especially in the dunes on slopes and in dry slacks. If the dune vegetation is too thick, the plant will disappear. Outside of the dunes, it grows in calcium-rich grasslands. Carline thistle often has three flower heads, which explains the Dutch name 'three thistle'. The plant usually blossoms in its second year, and sometimes in following years. It spends the winter as a rosette of leaves.

    Carline thistle is found from southwestern Europe up to the North Sea region and Scotland.