Even on holiday many RBGE staff are on the lookout for interesting plants. On a trip to Cyprus one member of staff took resulted in the Garden growing a gigantic thistle. Resplendent with silvery foliage, with spines abounding over the surface, the colour tends to wash out with our torrential rain. Forming a statuesque plant not ideally suited to the rock garden, but being monocarpic will die following flowering and to keep it going seeds will be collected.
The original seed was collected from stunted plants of Onopordum cyprium. In the Gardens moist, fertile soil the plants have grown double the height, it was observed in the mountainous stony substrate near Salamiou. An area containing abandoned vineyards amongst a parched landscape all watched over by hungry vultures.