Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thistle While You Work

How can something be so beautiful and so dangerous at the same time?




Oops, wrong picture. How did that get up there? :P

Here we go. I was told by an English friend that this was a thistle.


I don't know what kind of thistle. Mr. A and I were out walking on a path through the woods behind our house (back in 2007), and I saw this one along our path. I actually came back by with the camera so I could snap that picture. I thought this was the coolest looking weed I'd ever seen.

Fall into that thing, you'd be picking out thorns for a month. Heck, they might even need to amputate O_O. So make sure you don't fall in face first!

From Botanical.com



"Thistle is the old English name - essentially the same in all kindred languages - for a large family of plants occurring chiefly in Europe and Asia, of which we have fourteen species in Great Britain, arranged under the botanical groups Carduus, Carlina, Onopordon and Carbenia, or Cnicus.

In agriculture the Thistle is the recognized sign of untidiness and neglect, being found not so much in barren ground, as in good ground not properly cared for.

It has always been a plant of ill repute among us; Shakespeare classes 'rough Thistles' with 'hateful Docks,' and further back in the history of our race we read of the Thistle representing part of the primeval curse on the earth in general, and on man in particular, for - 'Thorns also and Thistles shall it bring forth to thee.'"


It may be a plant of 'ill repute', and I wouldn't want one sprouting in my garden, but I still think it's pretty neat looking. I don't know why I've never seen one before. Not to mention why I haven't seen one since. They sound common enough worldwide to the point of being invasive. And its flowers are a vivid magenta.

My mum used to have a set of Scottish pottery dishes, and they had thistles all over them. They looked just like these ones from Crieff Thistle Pottery


When I was a little kid, I thought those thistles were blueberries. I wondered what blueberries had to do with Scotland LOL.

Ah, the mind of a child. Glad I'm *ahem* grown up now and know better.

24 comments:

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

They are kind of neat looking, but trying to weed them is painful. I've have a few show up in my yard and even with gloves the can be prickly. I've noticed them on dishes too, I wonder why the sign of untidiness on a dish?

Kyna said...

I'd have to weed those with a post-hole digger lol.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

We get a LOT of thistles here! Mostly bull thistles, which are an invasive plant here in California. I know their thorns well, they even pierce through thick leather gloves! Yours is much prettier than ours though...but good advice, please don't fall face first!

Kyna said...

Yuck! I promise I'll be careful lol

Floridagirl said...

Well, I'm just impressed that you've never encountered this in your garden before. I am constantly pulling them here! It's embarrassing, actually, since it's a sign that a garden is not properly cared for. ;)

Kyna said...

Hehe, well maybe I've passed by them when I was walking, and didn't notice because they aren't in flower or something. I have other weeds in my yard, but not those!

The Rainforest Gardener said...

I have seen a variety of these growing amongst the dune plants near the beach and they look beautiful from above when surrounded by green plants! I almost forgot that they were thistles they were so beauriful.

Ben said...

Yea I like thistle as well, the first time i saw them I really liked them. I don't know if i would want to have to weed them out of unwanted places :)... check out this post here:http://gardeninga.blogspot.com/2009/06/mother-natures-garden.html a couple pictures down are some of the ones I ran into. I might try Centaurea Americana if I ever did bring thistle into the garden.

Kyna said...

Thanks Ben and RG :) I don't feel as crazy anymore for thinking they looked cool lol.

Liz said...

The one thing to want Thistles for is their attraction for Bees and other insects...

They may also deter burglars or cats from going to the bathroom in your borders... lol, otherwise I'm not sure I'd want them in my garden, and to be honest it's very rare I see them growing in the wild. At least not the traditional 'Scottish' Thistle

Kyna said...

From the way you wrote that, I just got a funny image in my head of a burgler trying to go to the bathroom in my borders LOL :D

Well, that was definitely in the 'wild'. Unless a house used to be back where that was. And in this area, there probably was a house at one time.

Kelly@LifeOutOfDoors said...

Hilarious first picture. Thanks for making me smile on this cold Feb day!
Kelly

Kyna said...

Hehe, as I said on one of my recent posts, my most favourite thing to do in this life is make people laugh. It makes my day when even one person says that. Thank you! :)

Meredith said...

Awesome first picture. You made me smile.

As for thistles, I haven't seen any yet here in South Carolina. (Maybe they don't like the Carolinas?) I used to see them by the roadside in the country in Georgia, and I loved them -- but never had to pull them out of my garden.

The ones I've seen were super tall, over four feet usually and sometimes five and a half, with these huge, fat bright purple blossoms. The one in the photo is lovely, but a teeny thing comparatively...

gippslandgardener said...

Umm...I have to admit to having briefly thought about introducing some to my garden for the bees and butterflies. Then I has an image of a garden filled with nothing but thistles! Nooooo!

Kyna said...

Meredith: Wow, those were some huge thistles O_O. This one was larger than it looks in the photo, but it was wider than it was tall for sure. I'm glad I made you smile :D

Gippy: It's just like in a horror movie. I can see you dropping to your knees, fists pumping to the sky...LOL. Yep, I just like thistle from afar. For the purple flowers really lol.

Kimberly said...

Kyna, my poor little daughter encountered one for the first time this last weekend, and it made her cry when she tried to rid the garden bed of it. She was fearless, though, and determined to get rid of it, which she did! I agree...many thistles are so pretty, as are many "weeds"!

The Idiot Gardener said...

Well, we in the UK have thistles everywhere. The Scots love them, they grow them for fun and make underpants from them. It is also a tradition to push ginger-haired step-children into thistle patches.

It's odd; I guess I never considered that to some people they would be attractive.

Tatiana said...

I don't know if they're a sign of barren anything, when we were kids they grew wild and free on the sides of the road along with burdocks, plantains and saltbush. To me they always seemed like scrappy little plants fighting for their place in the sun and using their thistles to travel.

Kyna said...

Kimberly: Your poor daughter! :( Glad she came out of it with attitude lol :D

IG: Well, if you haven't noticed by now, I qualify as 'odd people' :P Thistle underpants, eh? Bet they chafe something fierce. ;)

Tatiana: From the sound of it, they do seem to be scrappy. I always root for the underdog. No pun intended. ;)

Floridagirl said...

I can't believe I've put so much thought into the subject of thistles this week. But I've come to the conclusion that thistles are a sure sign of a garden filled with goldfinches and buntings! I love those little guys!

Jess said...

Oh, I've seen those before as a kid.... it didn't go well.

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Thisles are the bane (baine?) of my existance. We have battled them on a rural property for some time, without much success. Theyare Canadian thistles, which are very invasive and have DEEP roots. I've heard camels like to eat them, might be something to consider....;)

Kyna said...

FG: Well, I'm glad I posted something so thought provoking LOL :) We never seem to have enough of those two types of birds around. I've only seen a Painted Bunting a handful of times, and a goldfinch even less. :(

Jess: Oops, I didn't mean to give you flashbacks lol. I bet it was nasty :(

Rebecca: If you ever decide to start a Canadian Camel Farm, you could probably make it a tourist attraction. Because I'd pay money to see that in Southern Alberta :D You might have to make them parkas though O_O