Thistles of Adur
2 August 2021
     Dwarf Thistle
Lower slopes of Mill Hill
14 May 2021
Slender Thistle
2 August 2020
Spear Thistle
Mill Hill
Early > 4 June 2020
Creeping, Welted, Slender, Spear
Path either side of the River Adur between the Norfolk Bridge and the Toll Bridge

16 July 2019
It is remarkable that in the middle of July a different set of flowers become dominant on the levels and Mill Hill. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Dwarf Thistle was a first arrival for 2019, and the Musk Thistle was only noted for the first time this year.The green shoots of Carline Thistle appeared.

30 April 2019
On the downs near Truleigh Hill there was a fenced in area of a hundred plus Welted Thistles in flower.
19 May 2019
There were over a hundred Slender Thistle in flower on the river bank between the new development of Ropetackle North and the River Adur with one Welted Thistle and the prickly leaves of Spear Thistle.
 June 2018
Musk, Creeping, Slender
Welted, Dwarf

26 June 2018
Welted Thistle
Shoreham Beach, Estuarine
On the bare ground as a result of the new tidal walls west of the Ferry Bridge, Slender Thistle was just about finished flowering, Welted Thistle was in full flower, and Spear Thistle was budding, expected to flower a in a day or two. Creeping Thistle was in flower elsewhere.
7 June 2018
Slender Thistle
Shoreham Beach
6 June 2018


Musk Thistle
Mill Hill

5 & 6 October 2017
Creeping Thistle
Mill Hill Upper Meadow
24 August 2017
Musk Thistle
6 July 2017
Spear Thistle
25 July 2017
Musk, Dwarf, Welted, Spear
Musk, Creeping

Photograph by Andy Horton
Carline (dead)
Carduus nutans
Common Darter (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Stemless Thistle close-up  (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Dwarf Thistle on the lower slopes (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Cirsium arvense
Dwarf (=Stemless)
Dwarf (=Stemless)
Photograph by Ray Hamblett
Dwarf Thistle on the lower slopes (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Slender Thistle ???
Cirsium vulgare
Dwarf (=Stemless)
Carduus acaulis
Dwarf (=Stemless)
Carline (short plant) on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Photograph by Ray Hamblett
Carlina vulgaris
Lesser Burdock 
Arctium minus
Prickly Sow-thistle  (a Daisy)
Sonchus asper
Prickly Sow-thistle
Sonchus asper
Musk Thistle
Musk Thistle

Musk Thistle, Carduus nutans

Welted Thistle
Carduus crispus
Musk Thistle
Carduus nutans
Carduus nutans

Welted Thistle
Carduus crispus
Welted Thistle
(Flash photograph)
Welted Thistle

It was seen in the scrub in the north-west of Mill Hill.


Cotton Thistle, Onopordon acanthium, in the cattle pasture to the east of Mill Hill
 Cotton Thistle, Onopordon acanthium, in the cattle pasture to the east of Mill Hill. This is a naturalised alien plant over a metre in height.
June 2005

Thistle ID by Ray Hamblett
(Lancing Nature)

Creeping Thistle
Musk Thistle 

(Mill Hill)

12 July 2005
Cotton Thistle, Onopordon acanthium
Cotton Thistle
3 July 2005
Cotton Thistle, Onopordon acanthium, in the cattle pasture to the east of Mill Hill
12 July 2005
Cotton Thistle, Onopordon acanthium, in the cattle pasture to the east of Mill Hill
Slender Thistle
Welted Thistle from Lancing Clump
Stemless Thistle Seed Head
from the Mill Hill Reservour Area (north)
Slender Thistle from 
Lancing Beach near Widewater

2 September 2016

Welted Thistle
Carduus crispus
Upper Beeding, Cyclepath edge near the river

Animals (Invertebrates) on Thistles

21 June 2009
On a breezy mostly overcast day the most interesting observation were twenty or more small bees on the flower heads of the Musk Thistle on the side of the path as it runs past the Reservoir on the southern part of Mill Hill.
It looks like a female Osmia spinulosa to me.
Bee ID by Stuart Roberts
Adur Bees 2009
8 July 2007
Musk Thistle was beginning to go to seed on Mill Hill

Reports 2008

21 July 2008
Harlequin Ladybird

A study of  Creeping Thistle

28 September 2008
Carline Thistle was in all three forms, the dead plants were grey including the leaves, the new growths have orange heads and green leaves, but some of the orange heads were furring up and the prickly leaves were turning brown.

September 2008
Carline Thistle (Late)

In the study above, we see Carline Thistle in the central photograph still with green leaves before they turn orange and then brown.

August 2008

July 2008
28 July 2008

In this study of Carline Thistle we see the old dead plants still in place as the new growths first appear on the lower slopes of Mill Hill

11 July 2008
Five species of thistlewere recorded in flower on Mill Hill including the first Stemless Thistle of the year on the lower slopes, as well as Spear Thistle, Welted Thistle, the impressive Musk Thistle and the ubiquitous Creeping Thistle.
Musk Thistle and Ox-eye Daisies on the upper part of the lower slopes, just below the ridge, north-west of the Reservoir
26 May 2008
The first thistle of the year was seen in flower on the towpath a few metres north of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. This was a Welted Thistle, Carduus crispus.

Broader heads, darker flowers, gap in stem-spines just below flower head, compared to the Slender Thistle.

Comments by Malcolm Storey (Bioimages)
Cardueae (“thistles”) on Bioimages
Carduus crispus on Bioimages

Carduus tenuiflorus Curtis (Slender Thistle) on Bioimages



Arctium lappa    GREATER BURDOCK
Arctium minus   LESSER BURDOCK
Carduus crispus   WELTED THISTLE
Carduus nutans   MUSK THISTLE
Carduus tenuiflorus   SLENDER THISTLE
Carlina vulgaris   CARLINE THISTLE
Cirsium acaule    STEMLESS or DWARF THISTLE
Cirsium arvense    CREEPING THISTLE
Cirsium palustre    MARSH THISTLE
Cirsium vulgare   SPEAR THISTLE
Onopordum acanthium   COTTON THISTLE
Silybum marianum    MILK THISTLE
Sonchus arvensis   PERENNIAL SOW THISTLE
Sonchus oleraceus   SMOOTH SOW-THISTLE

Genera in the Asteraceae with the word thistle often used in their common names include:

Arctium – Burdock
Carduus – Musk Thistle and others
Carlina – Carline thistle
Centaurea – Star thistle
Cicerbita – Sow thistle
Cirsium – Common Thistle, Field Thistle and others
Cnicus – Blessed thistle
Cynara – Artichokes, Cardoon
Echinops – Globethistle
Notobasis – Syrian thistle
Onopordum – Cotton thistle, also known as Scots thistle or Scotch thistle
Scolymus – Golden thistle or oyster thistle
Silybum – Milk thistle
Sonchus – Sow thistle

From Wikipedia

Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea (List)

cf. Marsh Thistle

Adur Nature Notes 2008