This is a species which is not easy to find in Ireland, being confined to banks, sandy soil, disturbed places and walls towards the south-east. Slender, erect, hairy plants, they reach 60 cm high, bearing heads of flowers in quite loose panicles from June to August. Each flowerhead (12-18 mm across) is made up of pale mauve ray florets encircling a little cottony tuft of yellow disc florets which is shorter than the surrounding ray florets. The result is like a colourful little shaving-brush on a stiff purplish stem along which are a few narrow, unstalked, lanceolate leaves. The lower leaves are in a rosette and are stalked and spoon-shaped. The seeds are borne in an achene - little parachutes sail off into the breeze distributing themselves to produce both annuals and biennials. This is a native plant and it belongs to the Asteraceae family.
I found and photographed this plant while looking for something else – it often happens – in Inistioge, County Kilkenny in 2011.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre