Spear Plume Thistle

(Cirsium vulgare) It is said that these thistles are graze-resistant, in other words, they are not eaten by cattle, and they often flourish where competitors are removed by browsing cattle. Large numbers of these thistles in an old field are taken as firm evidence of overgrazing (Southwick). One piece of received wisdom is worth quoting:

Cut thistles in May, they'll grow again one day,

Cut thistles in June, that will be too soon.

Cut thistles in July, they'll lay down and die


Gerard reported that "... being stamped before the floure appeareth, ..., and the juice pressed forth, causeth the haire to grow where it is pilled off, if the place be bathed with the juyce". Whoever would have thought of thistles as a hair restorer? But that is not all, for he also passed on the information that this thistle chewed, "is good against a stinking breath". The roots, boiled in wine and drunk "... take away the ranke smell of the body and arme-hole". You could even apply the root like a poultice for the same purpose.

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