Echinops sphaerocephalus

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Echinops sphaerocephalus
Kugeldistel 20050705 565.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Echinops
E. sphaerocephalus
Binomial name
Echinops sphaerocephalus
  • Echinops maximus Siev. ex Pall.
  • Echinops altaicus Hort. ex DC.
  • Echinops cirsiifolius K.Koch
  • Echinops cirsiifolius (K.Koch) Grossh.
  • Echinops erevanensis Mulk.
  • Echinops horridus Link
  • Echinops macedonicus Formánek
  • Echinops major St.-Lag.
  • Echinops multiflorus Lam.
  • Echinops paniculatus J.Jacq.
  • Echinops villosus Hort. ex DC.
  • Echinops viscosus Rchb.
  • Echinopus sphaerocephalus (L.) Scop.
  • Echinops albidus Boiss. & Spruner, syn of subsp. albidus
  • Echinops taygeteus Boiss. & Heldr., syn of subsp. taygeteus

Echinops sphaerocephalus, known by the common names glandular globe-thistle,[2] great globe-thistle[3] or pale globe-thistle, is a Eurasian species of globe-thistle belonging to the thistle tribe within the sunflower family.


flowers, with bee

Echinops sphaerocephalus is a glandular, woolly perennial herbaceous plant with an average height of 50–100 centimetres (20–39 in), occasionally reaching 200 cm (80 inches).[4]

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.[4]

Atop each stem is an almost perfectly spherical inflorescence up to 6 cm in diameter, packed with white or blue-gray disc florets. It flowers from June until September.[4][5]

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).[4]


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.[4][6][3] It is very common in the mountains of southern France and southern and central Europe.[7]


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



  1. ^ a b The Plant List, Echinops sphaerocephalus L.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ a b Flora of North America, Great globe-thistle, boulette commune, Echinops sphaerocephalus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 814. 1753.
  4. ^ a b c d e Flora of China, 蓝刺头 lan ci tou Echinops sphaerocephalus Linnaeus
  5. ^ Rose, Francis (1981). The Wild Flower Key. Frederick Warne & Co. pp. 386–387. ISBN 0-7232-2419-6.
  6. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  7. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Cardo pallotta maggiore, drüsige Kugeldistel, bolltistel, Echinops sphaerocephalus L. includes photos and European distribution map

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