A BIENNIAL/PERENNIAL growing to 1.8m with prickly stem and leaves and purple, dark pink or lavender inflorescence.
Grows well in almost any soil and can tolerate heavy clay soil. Prefers moist soil in a full sun position.
With some use as a herbal remedy, the plant is better known for the dried flower heads being used for carding wool and as a clothes brush for raising nap on woollen cloth.
Medicinal actions include anti-cancer, diaphoretic, diuretic, homeopathy, stomachic, and warts. Make a tea to increase appetite and strengthen the stomach. Used as a brush and a blue dye is obtained from the dried plant, an indigo substitute.