Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Scots Corner - The Thistle

The Thistle is Scotland's national flower. Let's change that a wee bit here. It's a wild flower and in some people's opinion - a prickly, icky ...... weed. The real Scottish thistle flower is somewhat small and I was told years ago that what we see in photographs is the more robust, prettier, French Thistle.
Whatever it looks like and however people feel about it, this lovely purple creation has been Scotland's emblem for close to 700 years. It can grow to 8 feet tall and because of all the sharp prickly leaves is left well alone by everything with any sense :)
How did the thistle become a national emblem? As with most things because of a battle (Largs 1263) in which one of the opposition, trying to creep up on the Scots during the night stood on a thistle and let out a mighty yelp. Well if they will sneak around in their bare feet it's no wonder.
Mary Queen of Scots was an outstanding needlewoman and often used the thistle in her embroidery. Legend has is that after her death at Fortheringhay Castle in 1587 thistles sprung into bloom every summer.
The symbol of the thistle shows up in many ways, clothing, jewelry, money, drinking vessels, broadswords, tapestries, monuments, poetry, paintings, porcelain etc.
The highest honor in Scotland is to receive the Order of the Thistle which was founded in 1540 by King James V.

And now good people I'm off to watch more of the Olympic curling. Japan ladies are currently leading the USA ladies.  And the arena is erupting - Canada just beat Switzerland.


Kristina said...

As you may know by now....Im totally in love with Scotland. I have so many items that have the thistle on them, including a tattoo of the Scotsman newspaper emblem, on my lower back (got it while I was in Edinburgh in 04). I absolutely love it and love that it grows here in my area of TN along the roadside. Always makes me smile when I see it.

Marie said...

What a beautiful plate. Those Scottish Thistles are really big! I was so surprised when I saw them last time we were up that way. I had never seen thistles so large, very beautiful too! xxoo

Robyn *Ü* said...

My clan's (Fergason) crest is the bee & thistle and the family motto is "dulcis ex esperis" Sweeter through difficulty.

PurestGreen said...

I do love the thistle. It is rough but beautiful and it just suits Scotland so much.

Mamasooz said...

That's really interesting - I enjoyed reading about the thistle!