Cnicus

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Cnicus benedictus
File:Cnicus benedictus flor.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Cnicus
Species: C. benedictus
Binomial name
Cnicus benedictus
L.

Cnicus benedictus (Blessed Thistle), the sole species in the genus Cnicus, is a thistle-like plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Mediterranean region, from Portugal north to southern France and east to Turkey. It is also sometimes called Cursed Thistle.

File:Koeh-043.jpg
19th century illustration

It is an annual plant growing to 60 cm tall, with leathery, hairy leaves up to 30 cm long and 8 cm broad, with small spines on the margins. The flowers are yellow, produced in a dense flowerhead (capitulum) 3-4 cm diameter, surrounded by numerous spiny basal bracts.

The related genus Notobasis is included in Cnicus by some botanists; it differs in slender, much spinier leaves, and purple flowers.

Medical uses

It has sometimes been used as a herb to promote lactation. The crude drug contains about 0.2% cnicin.

It is a compontent in Bitters formulas which used to treat digestive issues.

Edibility

These thistles are not considered edible, unlike Cirsium, Arctium and Onocordum species; the leaves are considered unpalatable if not bitter.

See also

References

Template:Asteraceae-stub

cs:Benedikt lékařský de:Benediktenkraut hu:Benedekfű sq:Cnuku


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