Like the bramble flowers, spear (also known as bull or common) thistles are at their most brilliant right now and are a welcome pop of colour among the many shades of green. Spear thistles can grow to be 1 to 1.5 metres and prefer to be in full sun, you might spot them sprouting in the middle of paddocks or fields, as well as along the sides of the road. Whilst walking around Gallows Hill, I was frequently interrupted by visitors to their purple, fluffy flower heads. Many of them were hoverflies and wasps but then a beautiful small copper butterfly fluttered in and sat down for the briefest moment, they are an important source of nectar at this time of year. And when they are finished flowering the seeds are favoured snacks for spectacular goldfinches.
By River Six