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Common Name: Cotton Thistle
Onopordum illyricum is a Biennial up to 1.30 metres tall.
It has edible uses.
Sunny and well-drained habitats.
Succeeds in almost any ordinary garden soil. Requires a well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers a slightly alkaline soil.
Plants are hardy to about -15°c.
Often self-sows, sometimes to the point of nuisance, though the seedlings can easily be hoed out and can also be transplanted if they are moved whilst still small[
The flowers are very attractive to bees.
Flower buds - cooked. Used as a globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) substitute[
], though they are even more fiddly than that plant[
Seed - sow spring in situ[
]. The seed can also be sown in situ in autumn[
If the seed is in short supply then it can be sown in a pot in the greenhouse in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer.