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.
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
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