The Legend of the Thistle

Here in Smalltownland the Thistle is regarded as a nuisance. Tough and prickly, the Thistle has no natural enemies. When the plant becomes ripe, the seeds are dispersed through a fluffy process, much like a Dandelion. Thus, a farm can quickly become covered in these plants. Farmers typically use chemical sprays to kill them or simply cut them down.

There are actually several varieties of Thistles ranging in color from purple to yellow.

This is quite ironic in nature due to the fact that Smalltownland contains quite a few families of Scottish ancestry and the Thistle is the Emblem of Scotland.

Legend states that an Army of King Haakon of Norway landed on the Coast of Largs, with the intent of defeating the Scots. Landing in the cover of darkness, the Norsemen removed their footwear to help suppress any noise. While moving closer to the Scots, a Norseman stepped on a Thistle and cried out in pain. This alerted the Scots to the impending attack, with the Thistle saving the day. After that moment, the plant was then known as the Guardian Thistle.

In 1470, James III issued silver coins with the first use of the Thistle as a royal symbol of Scotland.

The Order of the Thistle was founded in 1540 by King James V. He made the order for himself and his twelve knights. The badge, worn by the knights, is a cross surmounted by a star of four silver points, over them a green circle bordered and lettered in gold. The lettering contains the motto: "Nemo me impune lacessit".
Translated: "No-one harms me without punishment".


  1. angel1adyI didn't know that. Thanks for sharing. Interesting. We killed those on the farm in Kansas when I was a kid.

  2. This was an interesting post...something common to you and unheard of for me:)

  3. We're of Scotch Irish descent and I didn't know that about the thistle. I've made Christmas ornaments out of the dried thistles before. . . ouch!

  4. Amazing that something so simple and common could have so much history.

  5. Wow-I had never heard it! So neat!

  6. The various component countries of the United Kingdom each had their own Pound Sterling coin; the Scottish one bore the thistle and "Nemo Me Impune Lecessit" on its reverse.

    Between thistles and gorse, you'd never be able to take your shoes off for a barefoot hike in Scotland. OUCH!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts