Echinops sphaerocephalus, known by the common names glandular globe-thistle, great globe-thistle or pale globe-thistle, is a Eurasian species of globe-thistle belonging to the thistle tribe within the sunflower family.
The genus name derives from the Greek words "ekhinos" meaning "hedgehog" and "opisis" meaning "aspect", or "ops" meaning "head", with reference to the appearance of the inflorescence, while the specific epithet sphaerocephalus derives from the words "sphaera" meaning "round" and "kephalos" meaning head.
Its erect branching, gray, slightly wrinkled and hairy stems bear the occasional large, soft, sharply toothed, sharp-lobed pointed green leaves. They are sticky hairy above, and white woolly below.
The flowers are pollinated by insects (usually bees, wasps and butterflies) (entomogamy) and are hermaphrodite (self fertilization or autogamy). The fruits are hairy cylindrical achenes about 7 to 8 mm long. They ripen from September through October. The seeds are dispersed by wind (anemochory).
This species is widespread across much of Eurasia but it lives on other continents where it was introduced, including North America where it is a widespread weed. It is very common in the mountains of southern France and southern and central Europe.
It grows in sunny, rocky or brushy places in more or less mineral rich soils at an altitude of 0–400 metres (0–1,312 ft) above sea level.
- Echinops sphaerocephalus subsp. albidus (Boiss. et Spruner) Kozu.
- Echinops sphaerocephalus subsp. sphaerocephalus
- Echinops sphaerocephalus subsp. taygeteus (Boiss. & Heldr.) Kožuharov
- The Plant List, Echinops sphaerocephalus L.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Flora of North America, Great globe-thistle, boulette commune, Echinops sphaerocephalus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 814. 1753.
- Flora of China, 蓝刺头 lan ci tou Echinops sphaerocephalus Linnaeus
- Rose, Francis (1981). The Wild Flower Key. Frederick Warne & Co. pp. 386–387. ISBN 0-7232-2419-6.
- Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
- Altervista Flora Italiana, Cardo pallotta maggiore, drüsige Kugeldistel, bolltistel, Echinops sphaerocephalus L. includes photos and European distribution map
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- ASTERACEAE, SUNFLOWER FAMILY, The Jepson Manual, University of California
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Profile
- Globe Thistle, Ontario Weeds
- Echinops sphaerocephalus, alterVISTA
- Czech Botany