Cirsium heterophyllum   Melancholy Thistle C DD N

Cirsium heterophyllum whole Cirsium heterophyllum close

We passed these superb members of the thistle family without comment on the way to see some Teesdale rarities. They are fairly common here and so no-one remarks on their presence. This thistle has no spines and is always a such a magnificent sight that folk of the old days reasoned that such a splendid flower could be a cure for sadness.

Nicholas Culpepper in 1669 remarked that "The decoction of the thistle in wine, being drunk, expels superfluous Melancholy out of the body and makes a man as merry as a cricket".

This is a northern plant and I remember always looking out for it when in Scotland. There is very little to be found south of the Black country in England and in Wales it only occurs in quantity in parts of the north. In Ireland it is rare but in Scotland and northern England where these were photographed it is commonly recorded.

LHS: College valley Cheviots 17th July 06 RHS: Yorkshire bank of the River Tees 21st June 2005

Added on 27th June 2005, updated 1st December 2008, updated 14th March 2010

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