Reddish Vale Country Park
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Creeping Thistle is a native perennial, very common throughout Britain, on roadsides, waste places, hedgerows and fields and as a persistent weed.
Grows to a height of 1m.
Male and Female flowers usually occur on separate plants.
This plant is a serious weed in pastures, having persistant rootstock and being resistant to many weed killers.
Creeping Thistle is the most important perennial thistle. It is native in cultivated fields, waste places, hedgerows and grassland throughout the UK. It is an aggressive weed that occurs on most soils but grows more extensively on deep, well aerated soils. It is the most common perennial weed ofgrassland on beef and sheep farms. Creeping Thistle is relatively indifferent to soil fertility but does grow better in richer soils.
Creeping Thistle colonies can expand radially by 6 to 12m per year and will dominate large areas of vegetation if left unchecked. Patches of Creeping Thistle may be formed from a single clone but often contain the shoots of several individual genotypes. Leaf shape is very variable between clones. Ecotypes have also been shown to vary in spininess, flower colour, seed size and time of emergence.
The seeds are an important constituent in the diet of many farmland birds. However, Creeping Thistle is also a food plant for several important insect pests.