Centaurea benedicta (L.) Linnaeus, 1763
Syn.: Cnicus benedictus Linnaeus, 1753
Common names: St. Benedict's thistle, Blessed thistle, Holy thistle, Spotted thistle [En], Chardon bénit, Cnicaut béni, Chardon marbré [Fr], Benediktenkraut, Kardobenedikte, Benediktendistel, Benediktenkarde, Benediktenwurz [De], Cardo santo, Cardo benedetto [It], Cardo bendito [Es], Κνίκος ή Ιεράκανθα [Gr], Mübarekdikeni [Tu]
Sianna, RHODES ● Greece
Description: It is an annual plant growing to 60 cm tall. Stem erect, usually divaricately branched. Leaves setiferous pubescent, pinnatilobed or pinnatifid, prominently reticulate-veined especially on abaxial side, margin spinose to spinosely toothed. Basal leaves petiolate; leaf blade oblong, ca. 30 × 8 cm, runcinate to pinnatifid. Lower and middle stem leaves petiolate; petiole winged; leaf blade narrowly elliptic, decreasing in size upward, pinnatilobed or pinnatipartite, base attenuate; lobes triangular, narrowly elliptic-triangular, or narrowly elliptic.
Upper stem leaves sessile, base amplexicaul and shortly decurrent onto stem. Uppermost leaves exceeding capitula.
Capitula few to several, rarely 1, solitary at end of stem and branches, concealed by subtending leaves. Involucre ovoid, ca. 2 cm in diam. Phyllaries imbricate, in 4 or 5 rows; outer phyllaries ovate, ca. 10 × 5 mm, leaflike, apex acute and tipped with a 3-6 mm spine; middle phyllaries elliptic, elliptic-lanceolate, or lanceolate, ca. 15 × 3-6 mm, apex with a rigid pectinately divided spine; inner phyllaries broadly linear, ca. 20 × 2.5 mm. Sterile florets filiform. Corolla pale yellow. Achene cylindric, ca. 8 mm, conspicuously many ribbed, glabrous, apex with a denticulate rim. Outer pappus elements in 1 row, ca. 1 cm, rigid, scabridulous; inner pappus elements much shorter, ciliate to inconspicuously arachnoid.
Biology: Flowering from February to July.
Habitat: Cultivated fields, garrigues, waste soils, dry slopes, olive groves. Up to 2300 m.
Distribution: Mediterranean region, from Portugal north to southern France and east to Afghanistan. Not on Balearic islands, Corsica and Sicily. Naturalised in North America.
Flora of China