Onopordum acanthium

Scotch Thistle

Names and Myths

Onopordum from onos donkey and porde to break wind. A windy plant according to Pliny.2 Asses thistle, ancient name possibly meaning that stupid asses would eat it.

acanthium thorny.17

Natural history / Folklore

From east coast to Montana, may be the true thistle of Scotland as seen on the emblem of the house of Stuart. Respect for thistles attributed by legend to be due to a bare foot Viking raiding party while sneaking up on a house at night stepped into thistles, and the resulting cries woke the Scots who in tern were able to slaughter the Danes.17


June - July purple flowers. A coarse spiny biennial, winged stems to 2 m high. Grey green leaves.

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