This Thistle is very well known, particularly in Scotland, where it is the national flower. It blooms in late summer and autumn.
The stem of the Scotch Thistle is very stiff and straight, with ‘wings’ at each side. These wings are pale green flaps edged with very sharp points, and they run from top to bottom of the stem. The stem itself is white and woolly.
The Thistle flowers are a dull purple colour, and grow in a dense head, forty or fifty of them closely packed together. If you pick to pieces one of these heads, you will find that it is made up of many purple tubes which are edged with five purple teeth. The foot of each tube is enclosed in a covering of dingy yellow down.
When you have a great many of these flowers growing close together in a head, the under part looks like a bundle of woolly down.
Below this down bundle you find a prickly green covering, in which there are dozens of narrow green leaves. Each leaf ends in a sharp point, and it is this prickly green covering which makes the Thistle such a difficult flower to gather.
The leaves have very sharp points at the edges. They are dark green, and are thinly covered with beautiful grey down. The young leaves are entirely white and woolly until they open.
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