Galactites tomentosa is a hemicryptophite plant up to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) tall. The stem is erect and pubescent, branched at the top. The leaves are green, long and pinnatisect, lanceolate, mottled with white markings, while the underside is whitish and covered with matted woolly hairs. The margins of the leaves bear strong thorns.
The flower heads are quite large – about 3 centimetres (1.2 in) in diameter. The involucre of the flower head is covered by hairy scales ending with a single grooved thorn. The central flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by insects, while external flowers are sterile; their color varies from white or pink to lilac-purple.
This plant prefers sunny places and usually grows on the uncultivated or barren grounds, waste places, well-drained soils, pastures and roadsides.
- Moench, Conrad (1794). Methodus Plantas Horti Botanici et Agri Marburgensis : a staminum situ describendi (in Latin). p. 558.
- Longo, Daniela (2008). "Galactites tomentosus Moench - Scarlina". Acta Plantarum (in Italian). Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- Pignatti, Sandro (1982). Flora d'Italia (in Italian). 3. p. 164.
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