Brushing up against the razor sharp leaves of a Purple Thistle can leave a lasting memory, not to mention a few ankle cuts; so-much-so, even cattle will go out of their way to avoid these thorny plants.
However, each spring these invaders morph into a kind of beauty and the beast as the flowering top creates a dazzling display of purple and white cylindrical flowered stems. This colorful playground attracts a host of insects including butterflies, beetles and bees to name a few.
Purple thistles have decorated Scottish royal emblems and coins for centuries. As the legend goes, invading Norsemen removed their shoes in an effort to quietly sneak up on the sleeping Scottish Clansman when one of the men stepped on a purple thistle. His screams of agony awoke the Scots and alerted them of the impending attack, thus defeating the Norsemen.
So, if you ever get cut by this thorny plant, remember, you weren’t the first.