This hard-headed plant is common everywhere, in pastures and fields and by the roadside, and it blooms in autumn.
The Black Knapweed is a stiff, soldierly plant, not unlike a small Thistle without prickles.
The flowers grow in thickly crowded heads each at the end of a stout stem. These heads are made up of dozens of tiny purple tubes with the mouth cut into five straps round the edge. You can see the forked end of the seed-vessel coming out of the centre of each tube. The stamens cling to the sides of the purple tubes, hidden from sight inside. This cluster of purple tubes grows on the top of a hard green ball which has a circle of light brown strap-shaped leaves round the top.
This hard ball is covered with row upon row of green leaves pressed tightly one above the other, like the scales of a fir cone.
When the flowers are in bud they are completely hidden inside this hard green ball, and after the flowers are withered you see these balls, which have become dark brown, still clinging to the ends of the stalks.
The Knapweed leaves vary much in shape. Some are narrow and long, with edges that are finely toothed. Some are deeply cut up at the sides. Those that grow clasping the stem are broad, and they are smooth all round the edge.
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