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