Such a handsome perennial, not as widespread as its small cousin, Common Knapweed, but worth looking out for on dry banks and pastures where it can reach a height of 1 metre. Its 3-5cm flowerheads are made up of reddish-purple disc florets with the outer, sterile, florets seeming to be rayed in lovely feathery petals. Below the disc florets is a swollen tube which is coated with brown, bristly bracts. The grey-green lower leaves are deeply pinnate, the upper having short basal lobes. This plant grows chiefly on lime and flowers from June to September. It is a native plant and belongs to the family Asteraceae.
I first found this elegant plant at Bishop's Quarter Beach in the Burren in 1981 and I photographed it there in 2002.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre