We are continuing our series of articles about the flowers, which are national symbols in UK. Our first text described the daffodil – the national flower of Wales. Now we will tell you more about the thistle – the national flower of Scotland.
Thistle is a common name for herbaceous two-year-old plants in the family Asteraceae. Their leaves have sharp prickles on the margins. In fact, the prickles can be found on all parts of these plants and they act as a protector against herbivores. The thistle is very attractive for bees and absolutely adaptable to any climatic conditions.
The flower is national symbol of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III /1249-1286/. The legend says that one night Vikings’ ships arrived on the Scottish coast. The Norse men wanted to attack the Scots while they were sleeping and that is why in order to walk more quietly they took their shoes off. That was a big mistake because one of the Vikings stepped on a thistle and cried out of pain. His shouts were loud enough to wake the Scottish army and they repelled the attack. There are no historical evidences about the truth in these stories, but the legend gives interesting explanation about the Scottish national flower.
Apart from that, thistle is also a symbol of a region in Northern France – Lorrain, and a part of the British encyclopedia logo. Some cultures think that the plant is very good for the man’s libido. Others think that the thistle is useful for lowering the blood pressure. However, it should not be consumed without medical recommendation.
One thing is sure, if you have too many thistles in your garden, we can help you get rid off them. But let’s leave a few in order to attract the bees and help your plants flower.