Carlina vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
Plants 10–80 cm. Stems simple to distally much branched, arachnoid-tomentose. Leaves: basal tapering to winged petioles, blades oblong-oblanceolate, 7–15 cm, margins with spine-tipped teeth and lobes, abaxially ± arachnoid-tomentose, adaxially ± glabrate; cauline leaves sessile, ± clasping, progressively smaller, margins with spine-tipped lobes, faces ± glabrate. Heads usually 2–5 in corymbiform clusters. Involucres 15–30 mm diam. Phyllaries: outer leaflike, middle green or purplish, spiny-fringed, arachnoid, inner with appressed bases, tips yellow or straw-colored, acuminate, spreading, slender, these resembling laminae of ray corollas. Corollas 7–9 mm, yellow to maroon-purple. Cypselae brownish, 2–4 mm, sericeous; pappi of ca. 30 bristles, basally connate in 10 bundles, 8–10 mm. 2n = 20 (Denmark).
Phenology: Flowering Jul–Sep.
Habitat: Roadsides, fields, waste places
Elevation: 0–500 m
Introduced; N.J., N.Y., Eurasia.
Carlina vulgaris is widely distributed across Europe and parts of Asia, often as a weed. Although it has a limited distribution at present in North America, it has the potential to become a serious weed problem as have several other Eurasian thistles.