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Synonyms: Ground Thistle. Dwarf May Thistle (Culpepper)
Common Name : Stemless Carline Thistle, Carline Thistle
Johns (Flowers of the Field) calls this the Ground Thistle, and Culpepper calls it the Dwarf May Thistle, and says that ‘in some places it is called the Dwarf Carline Thistle.’
Habitat: Carduus acaulis, the Dwarf Thistle, is found in pastures, especially chalk downs, and is rather common in the southern half of England, particularly on the east side.It grows in poor soils in dry sandy pastures and on rocky slopes, especially on limestone.
Carduus acaulis is a biennial/ perennial plant, growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).long, It has woody root-stock. The stem in the ordinary form is so short that the flowers appear to be sessile, or sitting, in the centre of the rosette of prickly leaves, but very occasionally it attains the length of a foot or 18 inches, and then is usually slightly branched. The leaves are spiny and rigid, with only a few hairs on the upper side, and on the veins beneath, and are of a dark, shining green. The flowers are large and dark crimson in colour, and are in bloom from July to September and the seeds ripen from Jul to August..The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Succeeds in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a neutral to alkaline soil. Prefers a poor soil. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. The stemless carline thistle is a protected plant in the wild because of its rarity. This species resents root disturbance, it should be planted into its final position as soon as possible. Plants are usually short-lived or monocarpic. The plant is popular in dried flower arranging, the dried heads keeping their appearance indefinitely.
Seed – surface sow in a cold frame in the spring. The seed usually germinates in 4 – 8 weeks at 15°c. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Edible Uses: Flowering head is cooked. Used as a globe artichoke substitute, though they are considerably smaller and even more fiddly. The fleshy centre of the plant is edible.
Part Used in medicine:—Root.
Stemless carline thistle is seldom used in modern herbalism. The root has also been used in treating a range of skin complaints such as acne and eczema. A decoction of the root can be used externally to cleanse wounds or as an antiseptic gargle. Some caution should be employed since in large doses the root is purgative and emetic. The root is antibiotic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, mildly diuretic, emetic in large doses, febrifuge and purgative in large doses. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
It is used nternally for fluid retention, liver, gall bladder, and prostate problems, bronchitis, and skin complaints, such as acne and eczema. It is used in the form of an infusion to treat stomach and liver disorders, edema and urine retention. Decoctions are applied externally to bathe skin disorders, fungal infections and wounds and are used as an antiseptic gargle. The dried and chopped roots, soaked in wine, stimulate digestion and soothe the nerves. Wine extract of 40-50 g of powdered roots/1 litre wine acts as a vermifuge. Take a wine glass twice daily. A water extract produces the same effect in 50/50 mixture with vinegar. Swedish bitters contains the root of the carline thistle, which possesses bacteriostatic properties and acts on the stomach as well. The root is antibiotic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, mildly diuretic, emetic in large doses, febrifuge and purgative in large doses. The plant was at one time in great demand as an aphrodisiac, it is used nowadays in the treatment of spasms of the digestive tract, gall bladder disorders, dropsy etc.
At one time the root used to be chewed as a remedy for toothache.
Weather forecasting. : The dried flowers respond to the amount of humidity in the air and can be used as hygrometers. Flowers on the growing plant close at the approach of rain.
Known Hazards:The Thistle is very injurious in pastures; it kills all plants that grow beneath it and ought not to be tolerated, even on the borders of fields and waste places.