This looks at first glance like shiny pine cones sprouting from ankle-high plants. The Leuzea conifera is a perennial, related (it appears) to thistles. Fine wooly hairs cover the stems and the underside of the leaves.
Tall. Low - Short
Flower. Globular (as in our photos), brownish-purple, about 50 mm (2in) long. When they flower, the bracts open at the top, exposing fine white hairs.
Leaves. Up to 8 cm long, narrowly lobed, directly from the stem (unbranched).
Habitat. Garrigue, open pine woodland, dry rocky or stony ground, poor grassland. We found these by a remote 14th-c chapel north of Grambois.