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Marsh Thistle Video Stock Footage
Cirsium palustre is a tall thistle which reaches up to 2 metres (7 ft) in height. The strong stems have few branches and are covered in small spines. In its first year the plant grows as a dense rosette, at first with narrow, entire leaves with spiny, dark purple edges later, larger leaves are lobed. In the subsequent years the plant grows a tall, straight stem, the tip of which branches repeatedly, bearing a candelabra of dark purple flowers, 10–20 millimetres (0.4–0.8 in) with purple-tipped bracts. In the northern hemisphere these are produced from June to September. The flowers are occasionally white, in which case the purple edges to the leaves are absent. The plant provides a great deal of nectar for pollinators. It was rated first out of the top 10 for most nectar production (nectar per unit cover per year) in a UK plants survey conducted by the AgriLand project which is supported by the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative.
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