The thorny flower selected by the people of Scotland in the thirteenth century is still a fitting testament to the Scots today. The thistle is a brightly colored purple flower that is covered in protective thorns. The thorny thistle has a lengthy history in Scotland, and with the defensive and powerful nature of the people who live in this northern region it is no wonder this lovely yet well protected blossom is considered the national flower of Scotland.
The History of the Scottish Thistle
According to legend, which passes for verified history in much of Scotland, the thistle was once used as a secret weapon in battle. Legend tells that during the rule of Alexander III (1249-1286), King Haakon of Norway led an army into Scotland to defeat the natives. The Norse army landed at the Coast of Largs and began to creep stealthily over the land to surprise the sleeping clansmen.
To aid in the quiet nature of the mission, the approaching army removed their protective footwear. Thankfully for the Scots, a tiny thistle was waiting in the dark as well and found its way under the tender foot of an invader. His yelp of pain was enough to alert the Scots and give them time to protect themselves and win the day.
The National Flower of Scotland
The thistle is considered by many to be a weed. The Scottish thistle is a strong and hardy plant that can easily overtake sections of your garden. It is this hardy nature that makes it the perfect plant for a people who have withstood adversity of all kinds and spread across the world so prolifically.
Growing Scottish Thistle
The thistle plants of Scotland are large abstract works of art. The plant can grow over four feet in glorious spine-covered wonder. If you choose to grow Scottish thistle, you must do so carefully. The thorny plants are not only hard to physically handle as you prune them, if you are not diligent about pruning, the so-called weed will take over your garden. The thistle grows easily in cooler zones, and to keep the large sharp plant under control, it is best to prune it religiously.