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Carlina acaulis - L.
Common Name Stemless Carline Thistle
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Poor soils in dry sandy pastures and on rocky slopes[7, 21, 100], especially on limestone[9].
Range Europe.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Carlina acaulis Stemless Carline Thistle

Carlina acaulis Stemless Carline Thistle
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Carlina acaulis is a BIENNIAL/PERENNIAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Root;  Stem.
Edible Uses:

Flowering head - cooked. Used as a globe artichoke substitute[177, 183], though they are considerably smaller and even more fiddly[K]. The fleshy centre of the plant is edible[7, 105]. Does this refer to the peeled stem?[K]. Root[13]. No more details are given.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Carminative;  Diaphoretic;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Febrifuge;  Purgative.

Stemless carline thistle is seldom used in modern herbalism. The plant was at one time in great demand as an aphrodisiac[7], it is occasionally used nowadays in the treatment of spasms of the digestive tract, gall bladder and liver disorders, dropsy, urine retention etc[9, 268]. The root has also been used in treating a range of skin complaints such as acne and eczema[268]. A decoction of the root can be used externally to cleanse wounds or as an antiseptic gargle[268]. Some caution should be employed since in large doses the root is purgative and emetic[268]. The root is antibiotic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, mildly diuretic, emetic in large doses, febrifuge and purgative in large doses[7, 9, 21, 46]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[7].
Other Uses
Weather forecasting.

The dried flowers respond to the amount of humidity in the air and can be used as hygrometers[100]. Flowers on the growing plant close at the approach of rain[268].
Cultivation details
Succeeds in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil[111]. Prefers a neutral to alkaline soil[138, 238]. Prefers a poor soil[200]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[187]. The stemless carline thistle is a protected plant in the wild because of its rarity[7]. This species resents root disturbance, it should be planted into its final position as soon as possible[138]. Plants are usually short-lived or monocarpic[187]. The plant is popular in dried flower arranging, the dried heads keeping their appearance indefinitely[7].
Seed - surface sow in a cold frame in the spring. The seed usually germinates in 4 - 8 weeks at 15°c[138]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.

Books by Plants For A Future

Other Names
Found In
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 :
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Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
Ralf Thu Apr 24 14:14:09 2003
Another web reference with lots of information on edible uses.

Link: Silberdistel

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Subject : Carlina acaulis  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
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