Echinops(redirected from globe thistle)
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Related to globe thistle: sea holly
(globe thistle), a genus of plants of the family Compositae. They are perennial and, less frequently, annual herbs. The leaves are alternate, pinnatipartite, and prickly. The bisexual, tubular flowers are light blue, grayish, or white; they are borne singly in heads, which are gathered into spherical inflorescences. The fruit is a cylindric achene. There are more than 100 species, distributed primarily in the temperate zones of Eurasia and Africa. Approximately 60 species are found in the USSR, mainly in the arid regions of the Caucasus and Middle Asia. Echinops sphaerocephalus and E. ritro are widespread. The plants yield significant quantities of nectar. Sometimes they cause poisoning of livestock. The alkaloid echinopsine is obtained from the fruits. The seeds contain an oil that can be used industrially. Several species, including E. ritro, are cultivated as ornamentals.