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Pests and weeds

Corn thistle

Corn thistle is a perennial plant with an erect stem, which can reach a height of between 30 and 100 cm. Leaves alternate, the lower leaves are lanceolate, whole or toothed – lobed, the upper leaves have a smaller base from lanceolate to oval. The flowers are red – indigo and formed by little caps at the top of the stems and branches. The edge flowers are longer, but sterile, whilst the central flowers are hermaphrodites. Fruits are a light grey achene. Flowering is from June to October. Its ideal habitat is pastures and lawns, and it is widespread in household gardens throughout Italy. Point of interest: from the Greek ‘kentaureion'(=kentáureion), from the rider Chiron, expert in medical art: he is reported to have used the plant to cure his wounds.