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Syrian Thistle is annual plant belongs to the Asteraceae family in the Asterales order. It is native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. It is an annual plant belonging to the semi-desert flora, growing to 30–100 cm tall. Leaves are alternate, rosette, dentat or serrate, spinescent. The leaves are spirally arranged on the stems. Leaves have sharp spines on both the leaf margins and the apex at times leaves look more like spines than leaf blades, toothed to lobed. Leaf margins or edges are deeply lobed and gray-green in color with white veins Stems are up to 100 cm tall, it is stiff, branched and bluish above, without spiny wings. Flowers are purple, spinescent bracts, joined together in capitula from 15-25 mm in diameter, solitary or in small clusters, bracts of the involucre yellowish finished by a hook ovary inferior, Flowers hermaphrodite only and flowering from March to May. Fruits are anchene, brown with homogeneous seeds-fruits.
Ecology: The Syrian thistle is often found in disturbed lands, e.g., sides of road and construction sites. It is glycophyte in terms of salt resistance , mostly synanthropic, also natural, non- succulent with spines in bracts and leaves. This plant follows the Mediterranean chorotype.
Distrbutions in Palestine: Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts.
Other names: Horse Thistle.
IUCN red list status: not evaluated
Local status: least concern