A tall biennial herb of fields, hedgerows, rubbish tips and other waste places, often near market gardens and farm buildings, and perhaps dispersed to new sites with manure or contaminated straw. 0-330 m (near Alston, Cumberland).
There is archaeological evidence for the presence of O. acanthium in Britain from the Iron Age onwards. It appears to have increased in frequency since the 1962 Atlas, possibly as an escape from gardens where it is frequently grown for ornament.
As an archaeophyte O. acanthium has a Eurosiberian Temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range.
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.