An elegant, thistle which is far more refined than several of its family members, Meadow or Bog Thistle, as it also known, is a creeping perennial commonly found in damp places and peaty pastures, most predominantly in the west. Growing to about 60cm high, its stems are neither winged nor covered in prickles, but are downy and ridged. The flower-heads (20-30mm across) are deep reddish-purple, are without ray-florets and have darker, erect bracts. The brushlike flowers are solitary or in small clusters from June to August. The leaves are only slightly pinnatifid, green and hairy above, whitish and cottony below and slightly toothed. The fruit is a feathery pappus. This is a native plant which belongs to the Asteraceae family.
I first recorded this wildflower in 2007 beside a turlough at Mullachmore, Co Clare and photographed it also then.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre