Appearance''Echinops sphaerocephalus'' is a glandular, woolly perennial herbaceous plant with an average height of 50–100 centimetres , occasionally reaching 200 cm .
Its erect branching, gray, slightly wrinkled and hairy stems bear the occasional large, soft, sharply toothed, sharp-lobed pointed green leaves. They are sticky hairy above, and white woolly below.
Atop each stem is an almost perfectly spherical inflorescence up to 6 cm in diameter, packed with white or blue-gray disc florets. It flowers from June until September.
The flowers are pollinated by insects and are hermaphrodite . The fruits are hairy cylindrical achenes about 7 to 8 mm long. They ripen from September through October. The seeds are dispersed by wind .
NamingThe genus name derives from the Greek words "ekhinos" meaning "hedgehog" and "opisis" meaning "aspect", or "ops" meaning "head", with reference to the appearance of the inflorescence, while the specific epithet ''sphaerocephalus'' derives from the words "sphaera" meaning "round" and "kephalos" meaning head.
DistributionThis species is widespread across much of Eurasia but it lives on other continents where it was introduced, including North America where it is a widespread weed. It is very common in the mountains of southern France and southern and central Europe.
HabitatIt grows in sunny, rocky or brushy places in more or less mineral rich soils at an altitude of 0–400 metres above sea level.
⤷ ''Echinops sphaerocephalus'' subsp. ''albidus'' Kozu.
⤷ ''Echinops sphaerocephalus'' subsp. ''sphaerocephalus''
⤷ ''Echinops sphaerocephalus'' subsp. ''taygeteus'' Kožuharov
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