The flowers, and indeed the whole plant, give off a pleasing musk-like perfume. The plant is very attractive to bees, hoverflies and butterflies, it is a food plant for the caterpillars of many lepidoptera species.
Succeeds in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil.
The down of the plant is used to make paper. The seed of all species of thistles yields a good oil by expression. This species contains 41 - 44% oil.
Pith of stem - boiled. A pleasant taste, it is eaten like asparagus. Said to be delicious. The dried flowers are used as a curdling agent for plant milks etc.