Scolymus hispanicus

Golden thistle,  Spanish oyster plant                                Σκόλυμος, ασκόλυμπρος

Compositae - daisy family                                                             Dicot.


Scolymus hispanicus is a bright green, erect, branched thistle with golden-yellow, flowers arranged along the stems amongst the spiny leaves.  It grows in fields, olive groves and wasteland, where it often forms impenetrable masses. It may be a surprise to some that this exceedingly prickly plant is valued in Greece and other Mediterranean countries, particularly Spain, as a wild vegetable. In spring the tender leaves are gathered before the spines develop; later they are picked and the leaves are stripped off to leave the base and central vein; in autumn, the roots are used. The florets can be used as a saffron substitute to colour food.

2cm 40-90cm
W                                         JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

“ April ones are for me, those from May for my boss & those from June for my donkey.”

Spanish saying.1

1. Sandra Polo et. al. Knowledge, use and ecology of golden thistle (Scolymus hispanicus L.) in Central Spain. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2009

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