Melancholy Thistle

Latin name: Cirsium heterophyllum

Family: Asteraceae

Despite the name 'thistle', unlike many thistles, this plant has no sharp spines. With attractive single flowers, it produces seeds that are sought after by some birds, particularly finches.

The name 'Melancholy thistle' comes from the potion which was once made from this plant to cure melancholia, now commonly known as depression.

In Britain, the plant is only found in the north and is often in the Yorkshire Dales National Park where on species-rich roadside verges e.g. in Ribblesdale and Upper Wharfedale. It can also be found in species-rich hay meadows,for example, in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.

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There is a freshness and at times a undefineable fragrance to the air at high altitude in the Pennines. Joan E. Duncan & R.W.Robson

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