Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Globe Thistle, a drought survivor

While lots of plants are looking rather sad, the globe thistle (Echinops and uncertain of the cultivar or its origin), while a bit shorter than usual, is flowering pretty normally.  These are tough plants and quite drought tolerant, up to a point, and the upper midwest is getting to that point awfully fast.  As you can tell from the inflorescence, this is a member of the Aster or Sunflower family.  Rather than forming a flat head, the globe thistle gets its name from having a globose head.  It also has no ray flowers, the ones that form the "petals" in sunflowers.  This one is just beginning to flower and it will attract a pretty wide array of visitors.  The individual flowers with 5 corolla lobes are pretty easy to see while in things like sunflowers you have to look much closer.  The plant's foliage is a bit coarse, thistly, so best to plant them among other perennials of similar height.  It's good to have some tough plants around that will provide some color no matter what.

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