Scottish Thistle

Chris Clark

Kirknewton, United Kingdom

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Wall Art


Artist's Description

Taken on Sunday 29th July 2008 at Almondell Country Park.

Cropped and Selective colouring with a slight sharpening.

Onopordum acanthium (Cotton Thistle, Scotch Thistle, Scottish Thistle, Spear Thistle) is a flowering plant in the Family Asteraceae. Other common names include, Scotch Thistle, and Scotch Cotton Thistle. Native to Europe, North Africa and Asia, it is a vigorous, biennial with coarse, spiny leaves and conspicuous spiny-winged stems.

Origin of botanical name

The botanical name is derived from the Greek words onos (donkey), perdo (to consume), and acanthos (thorn), meaning ‘thorny plant eaten by donkeys’.

Origin of common name

The common name Cotton Thistle derives from the cotton-like hairs on the leaves; the name Scots’ Thistle or Scotch Thistle comes from its status as national emblem of Scotland.

National emblem of Scotland

The flower of the Scots’ Thistle has been the national emblem of the Scots’ nation since the reign of Alexander III (1249 – 1286) and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470

As legend has it, an invading army had attempted to sneak up at night on the Scots. One, perhaps barefooted, unwelcome foreign soldier stumbled upon a Scots Thistle, and cried out in pain, thus alerting Scots to their presence. Some sources suggest the specific occasion was the Battle of Largs, which marked the beginning of the departure of the Viking King Haakon IV (Haakon the Elder) 2 of Norway, who had harried the coast for some years. Spiky plants such as brambles appear to have been used around forts 3 since time immemorial, so the story, whether it factually relates to the Haakon episode or not, likely is the culmination of more than one such event over time.

Extracted From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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