Although it looks like a thistle it has none of the prickliness. It has long smooth stems with clusters of 3 or 4 maroon flowers at the top, a metre high, the leaves forming a loose low growing rosette. This is a great architectural plant for the back of the border or as an accent plant at the front of the border. Attractive to bees and butterflies. Plant in full sun in moist well drained slightly acidic to neutral soil. Very hardy.