An erect, spiny biennial. Stems without spiny wings, pale grey, branched in the upper parts; 100 to 250cm tall. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, pinnatifid, coriaceous, with very spiny margins. Upper surface rough-hairy, with short adpressed spines; under surface covered with white woolly hairs. Flower heads 2 to 3.5 cm long; in groups of 2 to 4; sessile. Ray florets absent. Florets pinkish-purple, up to 3cm long.Involucre ovoid, pale grey, with cobweb hairs; involucral bracts ovate, adpressed, with a purple terminal spine up to 1mm long. Achenes dark brown with black markings, about 5mm long; pappus of feathery hairs 1.5 to 2cm long.
Local: Very rare in Gibraltar; only seen at Bruce’s Farm Field Centre. Grows on open ground, along hedgerows and on the edges of woodland.
Global: Found throughout the western half of the Mediterranean region.
Flowers from May to June