A Prickly History
When you think of 'Scotland', perhaps the most synonymous symbol, second only to tartans and kilts, is the thistle. So just how did this prickly weed become the beloved Flower of Scotland? .
Legend of the Scottish Thistle
Adopted as the Emblem of Scotland during the rein of Alexander III (1249 -1286), legend has it that an Army of King Haakon of Norway, intent on conquering the Scots landed at the Coast of Largs at night to surprise the sleeping Scottish Clansmen. In order to move more stealthily under the cover of darkness the Norsemen removed their footwear.
As they drew near to the Scots it wasn't the only thing hiding under the cover of darkness. For one of Haakon's men unfortunately stood on one of these spiny little defenders and shrieked out in pain, alerting the Clansmen of the advancing Norsemen. Needless to say the Scots who won the day.
If you are planing a traditional Scottish wedding ceremony, our Scotch Thistle Save the Dates are the perfect fit! Personalise yours by adding the names of the bride and groom, as well as the location of your wedding and of course, the date to save!
Thistles make a great addition to your bouquets and buttonholes! We love these arrangements that capture the Scottish spirit and add that subtle pop of colour!
One of our favourite, albeit lesser-known wedding traditions is the groom gifting a Luckenbooth brooch to his bride on their wedding day. Subsequently, this Scottish love token would be pinned to the shawl of their first child to protect it from “evil spirits.”
These brooches, which commonly feature a crowned heart or two intertwined hearts, get their name from Edinburgh's first permanent shops known as 'Luckenbooths' or basically 'locked booths.' Dating from the 16th century these stores sold trinkets and housed jewellery workers and other trades.
Order of the Thistle
The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh houses several artefacts pertaining to the Order of the Thistle dating from George V's reign. Thought to be founded by James III in 1687, this ancient and noble Order is a merit of chivalry which is bestowed to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the life of Scotland and the greater United Kingdom.
The motto of the order is: Nemo me Impune Lacessit, which means ‘no-one provokes me with impunity’ or who dares meddle with me. It is considered the motto of Scotland and of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
While thistles are among the hardest to gather of wild foods, many variations are known to provide high levels of important major nutrients. If you fancy embracing your inner forager, this article courtesy of Permaculture may provide you with some valuable insight.
If the thought of collecting and preparing the thistle sounds a bit daunting or the idea of actually eating this spiny weed is just not your cup of tea, you can always enjoy it as a garnish!