It is the national flower of Scotland. The plant provides a great deal of nectar for pollinators.
It is a tall biennial or short-lived monocarpic thistle, forming a rosette of leaves and a taproot up to 70 cm long in the first year, and a flowering stem 1–1.5 m tall in the second (rarely third or fourth) year. It can grow up to 1.8 m tall. It sometimes will function as an annual, flowering in the first year. Spear thistle is often a ruderal species, colonising bare disturbed ground, but also persists well on heavily grazed land as it is unpalatable to most grazing animals. Nitrogen-rich soils help increase its proliferation.
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