A name that needs no imagination. It’s very sharp, very short, and, well, very easy to lean into during a picnic.
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.
Centaury continues the colour theme. It is named after Chiron, a centaur in Greek myth. Like pimpernel, it closes in uncertain weather.
It can have up to fifty flowers on a single plant. Scabious offers one, but grows in company.
And summer wanders on.