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Common Name: Blue Sow Thistle
Cicerbita alpina is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Mountainous regions of C. Europe, including Britain, from Norway to the Pyrenees.
A very rare native of Scotland, growing on alpine rock in moist places[
|Bees, Beetles, Lepidoptera
Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich neutral to acid light sandy soil and some shade[
Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[
Young shoots and stems - raw[
]. The skin is first removed, but the shoots are still rather bitter and unpalatable[
Older stems can also be peeled and eaten raw[
] but have a bitter taste[
The leaves and milky sap were at one time often used in herbal medicine, though are seldom employed nowadays[
]. They are diuretic and are also applied externally to inflammations[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not let the compost dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Division in spring[
]. We have found it best to pot up the clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.