Did you know that the national flower of Scotland is the humble thistle? It is. This little weed is a source of pride and nationalism in Scotland.
Some make the analogy that Scots are much like the thistle; a bit prickly, untamed, but thrives against adversity.
There is even a story on how the thistle was chosen as the flower of Scotland. It goes a little something like this:
A long, long time ago, when Vikings roamed the seas of the north Atlantic, there was a small village in Scotland that was always on edge that they would be the next to be attacked. They were not wrong. One night their village was going to be sacked. To sneak up on the Scots unaware, the Vikings took off their shoes to move silent and deadly in the night. Unbeknownst to these invaders, there was a great patch of thorny weeds just outside of the settlement. One unlucky warrior stepped on a thistle and cried out in pain. This woke the village in time to defend themselves from the intruders.
This is just one variation of the story. There are several others, what they share is that this modest plant saved the lives of a number of Scots and in turn was given a spot of prestige. This story has no evidence to prove that it true or that this is the reason that the thistle was chosen, but it is an example of how highly the plant is regarded.
The thistle has been prominent in Scottish heraldry for over 500 years. It also is the emblem for the highest honor a citizen in Scotland can have, the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, which was started by James III in 1687.
There are also multiple varieties of thistle that can be found in Scotland. No one knows which variety is technically THE flower of Scotland, but they all have their own charm. Because of this, there is a variety in the artwork that is inspired by the bloom. None is more or less correct. That is why you will find such a variety throughout Scotland.
So, even though there is no concrete reason on why the thistle was chosen as Scotland’s flower. It is iconic and beautiful none the less.
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