Sunday, 28 January 2018

Syrian thistle - Notobasis syriaca (L.) Cass. - Νερόκαυλος - Cyprus

Notobasis syriaca, the Syrian thistle, is a species in the thistle tribe within the Asteraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, from Madeira, the Canary Islands, Morocco and Portugal east to Egypt, Iran and Azerbaijan.

It is an annual plant belonging to the semi-desert flora, growing to 30–100 cm tall. The leaves are spirally arranged on the stems, deeply lobed, grey-green with white veins, and sharp spines on the margins and apex. The flowers are purple, produced in a dense flowerhead (capitulum) 2 cm diameter, surrounded by several spiny basal bracts.

In the Greek island of Crete, where it is called agavanos (αγκάβανος), its tender shoots are peeled and eaten raw by the local people.

It is naturalised in Australia.

Photos Athienou 29/3/2015 by George Konstantinou 

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