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From what plant does this come?

ikbikb Posts: 2
After working for a while in the garden the other day, with my mobile phone, in its soft woven case, clipped to my belt, it rang. I went to open the case and was startled by a sharp prick in the side of my thumb. Having answered the call I examined the case and found that a spikey 'thing' had become lodged in the fabric of the case, with its sharp tip still exposed. On examination it looked sufficiently interesting for me to take several photomicrographs, one of which I have attached.
Its length, overall, is 10mm, the majority of that being taken up by the 'spike'. At the other end is a cluster of what appears to be miniature versions of the main 'thing'; one of them having been separated from the bulk at the upper right-hand side. (Second image)
Can anyone identify the plant to which this belongs?
We live in southern-most Cheshire with a garden devoted mainly to 'wildlife', with a pond/mud-hole, but no intentional exotics, apart from courgettes and pumpkins.
It is not a good photograph.  The background is the sticky side of a plaster that I had tried to put over the hole made my the spike.
I still have the object, mounted on a microscope slide if it would be of use to you.



  • AsarumAsarum Posts: 618
    It looks to me like a spike from a thistle of some sort, but I will be interested to see what others have to say.
    East Anglia
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,673
    Courgette could also be the culprit, they get me every time I pick them
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    Agree, some plants in the cucurbit family do have quite long sharp spines, some varieties have spiny fruit but many more have them on the stems or backs of leaves.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    It looks quite sharp, I bet it gave you a right sharp pinch
  • ikbikb Posts: 2
    Two more photomicrographs of the Spikey Thing, with different lighting and a different background.
    I think that they show quite clearly that the 'head' of the Thing is made up of 'Baby Things.
    I have examined many plants in the garden that has garden that have spikes including thistles, courgettes, marrows and giant hog-weed and on dissection of the spikes and the tissue surrounding their 'blunt' ends, can find nothing that resembles the 'hatchery' of The Spikey Thing.
    I observe that the Spikey Thing's spike appears to be smooth and clean, with not of the evidence of dirt, exposure to sunlight or withering that appears on other spikes.
    I conclude, tentatively, that the spike may lie within the plant from which it comes - but how it became detached from the plant is a mystery.
    It's entirely possible that, as a physicist, rather than a botanist, I am entirely mis-interpreting what I am seeing.
    Any suggestions would be welcome 
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