The Thistle

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Have you ever wondered why the national flower of Scotland is a prickly weed? I find it amusing and endearing that the Scots chose the thistle for their national flower but this week I discovered there’s a story behind it and it’s a good one.

Apparently during the 13th century Norway was fighting Scotland for land in the Western Isles. At one point Norwegian warriors landed in Ayrshire and tried to surprise the Scots at night while they were sleeping. However the warriors were barefoot and someone stepped on a thistle, shrieked in pain, and alerted the Scots to their presence. The Scots then defeated the Norseman at the Battle of Largs.

The thistle was first used as a royal symbol of Scotland by James III in 1470.

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