A second sowing of seed last year has given us good plants of Cirsium purpuratum. This seed was collected in 2013 on the Edinburgh Iconic Kew Japan Expedition and is collection number EIKJE 212. I remember the collection well. We were in Katokochi national forest making collections of the critically endangered conifer Picea koyamae and had stopped for lunch. A landslip had opened up a great view out over the forested slopes and the first signs of Autumn colour were beginning to show. We were eating our lunch quietly and a Japanese serow had begun browsing on the vegetation that had colonised the landslip above us. I left my food to photograph the serow. Moving slowly I managed to get close enough to get a really good look; it was a really lovely experience and one of my most memorable wildlife encounters. When the animal moved on I noticed the Cirsium where it had been grazing and we made collections.
The first batch sown were unsuccessful but I was delighted to find these plants from the second sowing growing well in the Nursery; it instantly reminded me of our encounter with the goat like serow. I am really excited to see them being planted in the garden in Edinburgh.
Cirsium purpuratum is a monocarpic perennial. It lives for two or more years, then flowers once, sets seed and dies. To keep it in the collection we will either have to allow it to self seed or, collect the seed and sow it again.