by Mandy Kirby
Tough and durable, defiant against aggressors: the thistle embodied qualities that the Scots saw as their own, and the flower became their national emblem.
There is a well-known legend of a Viking who stood on a thistle: his cry of pain alerted sleeping Scottish clansmen just in time to hold back the attack.
The Order of the Thistle, a chivalric order founded by King James VII, has a famous motto: Nemo me impune lacessit or ‘No one harms me without punishment’ - evoking the prickly aggressiveness of the plant.
— Mandy Kirby, gardener and garden writer, A Victorian Flower Dictionary, The Thistle