This biennial, or sometimes perennial, herb is mainly found on chalk, limestone or lime-enriched soils, but also occurs on sandy or shingly ground. It is found in rough, often overgrazed or recently established pastures, on roadsides and in disturbed places. Generally lowland, but reaching c. 530 m at High Cup Nick (Westmorland).
The overall distribution of C. nutans is similar to that in the 1962 Atlas, but it is now better recorded in many areas. It has always been rare in Ireland, where it is generally considered to have been introduced as a seed contaminant.
Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native 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.
Atlas text references
1988. The Irish Red Data Book. 1. Vascular Plants.
1988. The biology of Canadian weeds. 89. Carduus nutans L. and Carduus acanthoides L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 68:1053-1068.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1992. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.