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Last Floral Friday I was confused about geraniums; this week it’s thistles and things that look like thistles that are causing my befuddlement.

160812 thistles (14)

It seems there are thistle lookalikes, like Lesser burdock (Arctium minus agg.) and Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra), though admittedly, they don’t have thorns but the flowers are very similar. And then there are plants that have ‘thistle’ in their names that don’t look a bit like thistles to me: Smooth sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), for example, that looks more like a dandelion, and Globe thistle (Echinops sp.), which looks like a cross between a thistle, a teasel and an allium. And then there are the numerous varieties of actual thistles to decipher. Which genus is it: Cirsium, Carduus (Latin for ‘a kind of thistle’), Silybum (yes, really!) or Onopordum? And is it Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) or Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) or Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) or Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthum)?

160812 thistles (13)

I think you can see why I’m not even going to try to identify these photos. I’m going to remain bewildered and simply enjoy their wonderful structures and gorgeous colours.