With more than 200 types of thistle that exists, what is the Scottish thistle?
The technical name for the Scottish thistle is the cotton thistle, not only is it seen on Scottish highland tours, but you’ll see them all over the country on private tours of Scotland, these proud wild flowers are a member of the sunflower family, you can see why as they can grow up to 3 meters high, but it’s the spiny leaves that are covered in white hair that looks very much like cotton, hence the name cotton thistle, but it has the very unique pink or purple spiked head to give it that very unique standout look.
This thistle has been a Scottish icon for hundreds of years, also based on Scotland’s ancient order of chivalry as “the order of the thistle”.
As you’ll find out on a private tour of Scotland that this dates back to when the Scots were at war with the vikings of Denmark, as the vikings we’re attempting to attack Scotland at night, only for one of the vikings to stand on a thistle with his bare foot, causing him to scream out in pain, this alerting the Scots of the vikings attack so they could defend there land. After this the thistle was known as the guardian thistle, it also became the badge of the stuart clan. So you’ll constantly come across the symbol of the thistle on your exclusive vacation to Scotland, from outlander private tours to bespoke whisky tours, your custom made tour of Scotland won’t be far away from a Scottish thistle.
The similarities with the Scottish people and the thistle has been quite canny over the years when you think about it, when both signifying bravery, courage and loyalty, with the thistles painful spikes you’ll know if you’ve crossed one believe me! As a plant expert once said about the thistle, “though we cannot beat, nor like, nor use the damn thing, we must respect it as a formidable foe”.