Belongs to: daisy family

Spear thistle Cirsium vulgare

Best time to see: mid Jul to mid Sep

Key facts

An upright thistle of waste ground, with large reddish-purple flowers and very spiny leaves, sometimes over 2m. tall

Unlike the common creeping thistle, a perennial, this is a biennial, forming a rosette one year and flowering the next

Most likely candidate for the role of the scottish national emblem, the 'Scotch thistle'.

© Phil Luke

© Tony Gunton