Sunday, July 13, 2008
Scottish Things; Part I: Scotch Thistle
Isn't this lovely?
No, it isn't. This is the vile Scotch thistle, also referred to as a noxious weed in my county in Colorado. This plant, a member of the sunflower family, can grow to a whopping twelve feet, and is covered in spikes. We are admonished to rid our properties of this invader from Europe and Eastern Asia, lest it take over completely. One plant can produce 20,000-40,000 seeds.
This made me wonder how on earth this very same plant was adopted as the revered emblem of Scotland. Legend has it that marauders from Norway decided to invade the shores of fair Scotland one dark eve, and took off their boots in order to remain completely quiet. One of the Norsemen stepped upon the thorny plant and shrieked out in pain, alerting the Clansmen of the advance. And of course, the Scots won the day.
Thistle in dusk: