Melancholy thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum) belongs to the Asteraceae (the Aster family). It is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and western Asia. This herb grows in upland meadows, grasslands, road verges and open woodland, and up to a height of 45-120 cm. Unusually for a thistle, it lacks spines. The basal leaves are lanceolate with petioles and softly prickly edges. The cauline leaves do not have petioles and clasp the stem. The red-purple flower-heads appear from July to August.