Cousinia thomsonii


Images by Satish Phadke (Inserted by J.M.Garg) (For more images & complete details, click on the links)

Stony ground, especially in Ladakh and Lahul, at elevations of 3000 - 4200 metres[51]. Grassland and gravely places in flooded lands at elevations of 3700 - 4300 metres in Tibet[266]. 

E. Asia - Himalayas from Afghanistan to western Nepal and Tibet

Cousinia thomsonii is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.4 m (1ft 6in). It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) 
(From PFAF on 16.6.13) 

Cousinia thomsonii.
Spotted in large numbers on way to Spiti valley.
Validate please
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Fwd: Cousinia thomsonii : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (4)
Adding some images scanned in from slides taken in the 1980s (incl. one of mine) from Ladakh & Lahoul.
Whilst not close-ups, they show something of the distinctive foliage (and my shot, of the habitat).
Always important to photograph the leaves as well as flowers (more specifically flower-heads in the case of members of the Asteraceae family).
PLEASE, given that it now costs nothing to take lots of photos with digital cameras, take AT LEAST 6, if not 15-20 images of ALL species encountered (follow instructions I have given for photographing plants in other posts). Then select the best ones to post on eFI in future years.   Such action will greatly help with the identification process and provide a reference resource for those attempting to reliably identify plants in the future.
Cousinia thomsonii was found by members of the University of Southampton Expedition to Zanskar in 1981 at Skagam, 3500m, frequent in moist soil at the edge of fields.
According to Koelz the stems are eaten raw in Lahoul and the leaves as tinder in the flint & steep pouches (Sazk) which were indispensable to herdsmen and travellers in the past.  The tinder is also supplied by other plants with suitably hairy leaves such as Gnaphalium, Saussurea and Erigerons.
Flowers of Himalaya found this to be a common thistle on stony ground in Ladakh & Lahoul @ 3000-4200m from Afghanistan to W.Nepal and Tibet.
Stewart recorded it from N.Pakistan to Ladakh at 2700-4500m.  Stewart listed 26 species of Cousinia from Pakistan.
At the time of completion of his Annotated Catalogue, Rechinger of Vienna, who did a great deal of work on this genus, which is apparently the second largest in Afghanistan with more than 100 species, had borrowed pressed specimens from Kew and Gordon College, Rawalpindi, so he expected some of the names and determinations in his list would be changed and new ones added once the next paper on the subject was published but aged 82, Stewart, reasonably enough could not wait (even though he lived to be 102).
Thankfully, C.thomsonii is the only species of the genus known from the Trans-Himalayan districts of India.
Flora of Lahaul-Spiti found it common on dry slopes and waste places at Lossar.