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A Thorny Question...

The Thistle: Scotland’s National Flower & Emblem: But Why?


At this time of year, all across Scotland, thistles stretch up on long stems: butterflies and bumble bees briefly touching down on their swaying flower heads: those pinky/purple dots bright with sunlight, bobbing so familiarly before solid dark castle walls and blueish grey mountains: iconic indeed - but there are also legends explaining that it’s the prickly nature of a thistle which elevated it into being flower emblem of Scotland.


Perhaps the most famous of these dates back to when large parts of Scotland were under Norwegian rule. In 1263, King Haakon of Norway set off to conquer the rest of Scotland, but a fierce storm forced some of his longships onto the beach at Largs (Ayrshire). Legend has it that at some point these beached Norsemen tried to surprise sleeping Scottish Clansmen, but in order to move more stealthily, the Norsemen had removed their footwear. As they crept barefoot, one stood on a thistle and shrieked out in pain and the Clansmen were alerted.


Thanks to Historic-UK.com for the information


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