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Symbolic Flower of Scotland - The Thistle

National Emblem of Scotland


The thistle can be seen throughout the highlands, islands and lowlands of Scotland, the prickly purple thistle has been Scotland's national emblem for hundreds of years.

The thistle can grow to a height of six feet. Because of sharp spines it is unpalatable to animals such as rabbits, sheep and deer so is free to grow and spread.

There are many legends of why the thistle became Scotland's national emblem, the most likely are those associated with the Battle of Largs in 1263.

Scottish Thistle

During the summer of 1263 King Haakon of Norway, intent on conquering the Scots, landed his fleet of longships at Largs in Ayrshire.

Legend tells that during the invasion the Norsemen tried to surprise the sleeping Scottish Clansmen by attacking, barefoot, during the night. But, as they neared the Scots army, one of Haakon's men stood on a thistle. His screams of pain alerted the Clansmen and the attacked was thwarted.


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