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There are all Sorts of Different Thistles that Vary in Appearance and Use. Are they Commonly Used in Bouquets?

  • Thistles belong to the Asteraceae family but are also a part of the group “Cynareae” (which is also a part of the daisy family). There are many different varieties such as “milk thistle” and spiky sea holly, which is another form of “Alpine” thistle. These are usually solid blue in color, have a ruffle of sharp leaves around the center, and are quite often used in bouquets.
  • Milk thistle is usually thought of as a weed because it can become out of control and spread very quickly in fields and pastures. This can be a problem for grazing animals, but there are wild native thistles that are very beneficial to the environment.
  • Native Thistles supply nectar to bees, butterflies, and other insects and are incredibly important as they are a food source and habitat for fauna.
  • Chelsea Flowers offers a gorgeous “Garden Delight” arrangement complete with thistles surrounded by roses, green bell clematis, and campanula rotundifolia.

(“Garden Delight” bouquet, Chelsea Flowers)

The Thistle is the National Flower of Scotland.

  • The thistle serves as the floral emblem of Scotland and has been since the year 1200. This was around the time that a legend explaining the thistle’s significance occurred (during a Nordic invasion, an enemy stepped barefoot on a lone thistle and alerted a sleeping Scott).  Thus the flower was thought to be a symbol of protection.

Do Thistles Have Any Sort of Special Meaning?

  • The thistle is a symbol of protection and pride.
  • They are sometimes referred to as the “herb of witches” or “flower of the sun” in Southern France.
  • The plant was used as a medical remedy during ancient times and was sometimes referred to as the “blessed” or “holy” thistle.
  • The color purple is associated with regality, so the thistle is also a symbol of nobility.

Rare Beauty

  • Despite its many associated meanings and environmental aspects, the thistle is simply beautiful and interesting to look at.
  • With its sturdy, spiky stem and amazing purple blossom surrounded by sharp prickles, the thistle is a mysterious and alluring flower.
  • Blue thistles and “sea holly” actually resemble something one might find at the bottom of the sea, a sort of anemone. These also dry beautifully and last practically forever.

To learn more about thistles and specific information discussed in this blog, consult these websites:

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