This is a tall branching plant, each of its stems terminating in a group of richly colored crimson flowers. The petals are closely packed and their even appearance gives the impression that the blooms have been trimmed across their tops to ensure a completely symmetrical appearance.
Rivulare literally means “growing by a stream”, and this cirsium prefers damp and fertile ground. In farming folklore, thistles are associated with good ground and their presence is supposed to indicate high fertility. Some varieties are as exciting in seed as they are in full flower – but not this one. Its soft seed-heads look disheveled, especially after heavy rain, and they tend to break up.
Since it puts on its first show in early summer but still has a whole season of flower to offer, the best results are obtained by cutting back spent flower heads and their supporting stems when the flowers finish. This severe dead-heading promotes new flowers, and if they too are cut back, the flower season can be extended until the first frosts. When the last flowers fade, chop the whole stem down to the ground.
Part of the Butterfly Bed & Breakfast Project.