Cirsium heterophyllum syn. Cirsium helenioides. Melancholy thistle.

Life-form & Growth Form:  

Hydrophyte. Herbaceous perennial. Spreads vegetatively through irregular fragmentation.

Flowering period: 

July and August.


Wet meadows. Base-rich soils. Limestone pavements. Road-side verges. Woodland, stream side and riverbanks. Rough hill pastures. Upland.


Habitat loss and fragmentation through agricultural intensification including earlier and more frequent cutting for silage rather than a single late cut of hay; and application of slurry, artificial fertilisers and herbicides. Installation of field drainage also lowers water table, making it difficult for wet grassland species to thrive. Sensitive to grazing pressures, excessive or too-early grazing prevents seeding.

Distribution map:
Cirsium heterophyllum syn. Cirsium helenioides
Cirsium heterophyllum syn. Cirsium helenioides

For an interactive map follow this link to the BSBI webpage