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Cicerbita alpina - (L.)Waller.

Common Name Blue Sow Thistle
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A very rare native of Scotland, growing on alpine rock in moist places[17].
Range Mountainous regions of C. Europe, including Britain, from Norway to the Pyrenees.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Cicerbita alpina Blue Sow Thistle


Cicerbita alpina Blue Sow Thistle

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cicerbita alpina is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Lactuca alpina. Sonchus alpinus.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Stem.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots and stems - raw[4, 105]. The skin is first removed, but the shoots are still rather bitter and unpalatable[4, K]. Older stems can also be peeled and eaten raw[105, 177, 183] but have a bitter taste[2].

Medicinal Uses



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Antiphlogistic;  Diuretic.

The leaves and milky sap were at one time often used in herbal medicine, though are seldom employed nowadays[4]. They are diuretic and are also applied externally to inflammations[4].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich neutral to acid light sandy soil and some shade[1, 187, 200]. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[187].

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not let the compost dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring[188]. We have found it best to pot up the clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Waller.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Maureen Ball   Tue Jun 27 2006

I wonder if you could possibly help me. My husband is desperately trying to find the scottish blue thistle, it has a large blue head and is said to encourage goldfinches to your garden. We have searched high and wide for this plant as we would like to have one in our garden as we love feeding wild birds and he especially wants to get this bird in the garden to watch. If you know where we could purchase one he would be thrilled to bits. Hoping to hear from you soon. Maureen Ball

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Subject : Cicerbita alpina  
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