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WELTED THISTLE Carduus crispus (Asteraceae) Height to 1.3m. Upright and much-branched biennial with cottony stems that have spiny wings along almost their entire length, except just below the flower heads. Grows in grassland, scrub, verges and open woodland. FLOWERS are borne in cylindrical or egg-shaped heads, 2-3cm long, with reddish purple florets and woolly green bracts; heads are carried in clusters (Jun-Aug). FRUITS have unbranched hairs. LEAVES are oblong, deeply pinnate, 3-lobed and spiny at base of plant; upper leaves are narrower and stalkless. STATUS-Widespread and common throughout, except in Ireland and N Scotland.