Onopordum acanthium

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeOnopordumOnopordum acanthium


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).



World Distribution

As an archaeophyte O. acanthium has a Eurosiberian Temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range.

© G. Toone, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.9

Annual Precipitation (mm): 733

Life form information

Height (cm): 200

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 778

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 5

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 7

Atlas Change Index: 0.66

Weighted Changed Factor: 75

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


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