:"This article is about the plant, for other uses see
Thistle is the common name of a group of
flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the plant family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant - on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptationto protect the plant against herbivorousanimals, discouraging them from feeding on the plant. Typically, an involucrewith a clasping shape of a cup or urn subtends each of a thistle's flowerheads.
The term thistle is sometimes taken to mean exactly those plants in the tribe
Cynareae(synonym: Cardueae) [cite web | title = Cardueae (“thistles”) | work = Bio
] , especially the genera "
Carduus", " Cirsium", and " Onopordum"cite web | work = Merriam-Webster's online dictionary | title = thistle | url = http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=thistle | accessdate = 2007-11-30] . However, plants outside this tribe are sometimes called thistles, and if this is done thistles would form a polyphyletic group.
Genera in the Asteraceae with the word thistle often used in their common names include:
Arctium" – Burdock
Carduus" – Musk Thistle and others
Carlina" – Carline Thistle
Centaurea" – Star Thistle
Cicerbita" – Sow Thistle
Cirsium" – Common Thistle, Field Thistle and others
Cnicus" – Blessed Thistle
Cynara" – Artichokes, Cardoon
Echinops" – Globethistle
Notobasis" – Syrian thistle
Onopordum" – Cotton Thistle, also known as Scots or Scotch Thistle
Scolymus" – Golden Thistle or Oyster Thistle
Silybum" – Milk Thistle
Sonchus" – Sow Thistle
Plants in families other than Asteraceae which are sometimes called thistle include:
Salsola" – Saltwort, Tumbleweed, or Russian Thistle (family Chenopodiaceae)
language of flowers, the thistle (like the burr) is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment. For this reason the thistle is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric orderof Scotland.
Another story is that a
Vikingattacker stepped on one at night and cried out, so alerting the defenders of a Scottish castle.Cite web|url=http://www.nwcb.wa.gov/weed_info/Written_findings/Onopordum_acanthium.html|title=Scotch thistle|accessdate=2007-10-16|publisher=Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board] Whatever the justification, the national flowerof Scotlandis Scots Thistle, " Onopordum acanthium". It is found in many Scottish symbolsand as the name of several Scottish football clubs.
"Carduus" is the Latin term for a thistle (hence
cardoon), and "Cardonnacum" is the Latin word for a place with thistles. This is believed to be the origin of name of the Burgundyvillage of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, which in turn is thought to be the home of the famous Chardonnaygrape variety.
Thistle flowers, along with bugle and
brambles flowers, are favourite nectar sources of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, and Dark Green Fritillarybutterflies. [ [http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/uploads/Bracken%20for%20Butterflies.pdf Bracken for Butterflies] leaflet c0853 by Butterfly Conservation, January 2005]
Hugh MacDiarmid's poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistleis an extended meditation on themes which are in part derived from the position of the plant in secular Scottish iconography.
Notes and references
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Look at other dictionaries:
Thistle — This tle, n. [OE. thistil, AS. [thorn]istel; akin to D. & G. distel, OHG. distila, distil, Icel. [thorn]istill, Sw. tistel, Dan. tidsel; of uncertain origin.] (Bot.) Any one of several prickly composite plants, especially those of the genera… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Thistle — Administration Pays … Wikipédia en Français
thistle — [this′əl] n. [ME thistel < OE, akin to Ger distel < IE base * (s)teig , a point > STICK, Sans tiktá, sharp] any of various plants (as genera Onopordum, Cirsium, and Cnicus) of the composite family, with prickly leaves and heads of white … English World dictionary
Thistle TV — Thistle Television was a locally broadcast commercial television station for Lanarkshire, Scotland. It broadcast a mixture of locally produced programmes and older films. It also showed 2 hours worth of Sky News every day as well as broadcasting… … Wikipedia
thistle — prickly herbaceous plant, O.E. þistel, from P.Gmc. *thikhstula (Cf. O.H.G. distil, Ger. Distel, O.N. þistell, Dan. tidsel), of unknown origin. Emblem of Scotland since 15c … Etymology dictionary
thistle — ► NOUN ▪ a plant with a prickly stem and leaves and rounded heads of purple flowers. ORIGIN Old English … English terms dictionary
Thistle — SMY Meteor I (ex Thistle) Technische Daten (Überblick) Takelung: 1 Mast Rennkutter Segelklasse: Big Class Länge über alles (Lüa): 33,05 m … Deutsch Wikipedia
thistle — thistlelike, adj. /this euhl/, n. 1. any of various prickly, composite plants having showy, purple flower heads, esp. of the genera Cirsium, Carduus, or Onopordum. 2. any of various other prickly plants. [bef. 900; ME thistel, OE; c. D distel, G… … Universalium
Thistle F.C. — Football club infobox clubname = Thistle fullname = Thistle Football Club nickname = founded = 1875 ground = Braehead Park capacity = chairman = manager = league = Scottish League season = position = pattern la1= white hoops|pattern b1=… … Wikipedia
Thistle — 1) Heb. hoah (2 Kings 14:9; Job 31:40). In Job 41:2 the Hebrew word is rendered thorn, but in the Revised Version hook. It is also rendered thorn in 2 Chr. 33:11; Prov. 26:9; Cant. 2:2; brambles in Isa. 34:13. It is supposed to be a variety of … Easton's Bible Dictionary