Definition of carline in English:


(also carline thistle)


  • A thistlelike European plant with flower heads that bear shiny persistent straw-colored bracts.

    • ‘In France and Germany names meaning ‘wild artichoke’ are given to various thistles with edible heads, including the smooth carline thistle, Carlina acaulis, and milk thistle, Silybum marianum.’
    • ‘Time was, carline thistles were used as country barometers because the flowers expand in dry weather and contract when it is damp.’
    • ‘A thistle that hugs the ground and provides delightful, lasting dried flowers for winter is the stemless Carline Thistle (Carlina acaulis).’


Late 16th century: from French, from medieval Latin carlina, perhaps an alteration of cardina (from Latin carduus thistle), by association with Carolus Magnus (see Charlemagne), to whom its medicinal properties were said to have been revealed.