Cirsium acaule is a perennial herb. The leaves are a spreading rosette, spiny, 10 to 15 cm long. They are more or less hairy above, but more or less hairy underneath.
There is usually only one flower head, although there can sometimes be 2 or 3. Usually it is not stalked from the leaf rosette. The flower head is 3 to 4 cm long, the florets are red/purple. They flower from June to September.
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