Earliest one I've ever seen in bloom...
Located in area of swamp amongst grasses. Roughly 1m high. Rosette of lobed, purple margined leaves at the base as well as smaller leaves alternately arranged leaves along the stalk. Very sharp prickles covering the stem, leaves and bracts. Stem branches near to top and bright purple flowers are located at the apex.
Scotch Thistle is a familiar sight along roadsides and on waste ground.
Cirsium is a genus of perennial and biennial flowering plants in the Asteraceae, one of several genera known commonly as thistles. They are more accurately known as Plume thistles. These differ from other thistle genera (Carduus, Silybum and Onopordum) in having feathered hairs to their achenes. The other genera have a pappus of simple unbranched hair.