Picnic Thistle

A name that needs no imagination. It’s very sharp, very short, and, well, very easy to lean into during a picnic.

Picnic thistle 29 Jun 20

Thistles can hurt, as all students of Scottish folklore know. If a party of Scottish soldiers really were alerted to a Norse invader by his anguished step upon a thistle, it wasn’t this species, which is only found in England and Wales. Even here, it has quite a localised distribution. It likes chalk or limestone meadows where grass has been kept short by grazing.

The North Downs have bones of chalk. Where the slopes have escaped modern agriculture, a dazzling variety of wild things grow. Field scabious peaks at this time of year, and here has been found by a marbled white butterfly.

Scabious and marbled white 29 Jun 20

Centaury continues the colour theme. It is named after Chiron, a centaur in Greek myth. Like pimpernel, it closes in uncertain weather.

Centuary 29 Jun 20

It can have up to fifty flowers on a single plant. Scabious offers one, but grows in company.

Scabious 29 Jun 20

And summer wanders on.

12 thoughts on “Picnic Thistle

    1. This is the baby of the thistle family. We actually have 14 species of thistle here, and the one you really don’t want to tangle with (and which probably tormented that poor Norseman of yore) is the spear thistle.

      Thistles remind me of tigers: pretty, but you don’t want to pet them!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Adele,
    I appreciate you sharing your wanderings…. the marbled white is a beauty and Chiron is a company I represent so thanks for the association…keep wandering and we will keep wondering

    Liked by 1 person

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