There is a debate in Scotland of what our true national flower is, some would have you believe that
it’s the Scottish bluebell whilst others stand firm that it’s the thistle.
For me, I always go with the thistle, not just something that grows but is symbolised all over this
land, looking at a thistle makes you think of the wilds and ruggedness of the Scottish landscape and
how this bonnie wee flower can grown in the middle of all that for me sums up this country.
There is also the question of why, why would Scotland choose a weed, a wild flower, something that
we don’t grow ourselves because it looks beautiful but something that grows where it wants and
how it wants because that wildness reminds us of our country and makes it beautiful or maybe its
more than that. There are numerous folk tales in Scotland of why we choose to adopt this
wildflower, my personal Favourite goes all the way back to one of our Celtic kings, Alexander III of
On the 2 nd of October in the year 1263 there was a decisive battle between the kingdoms of Scotland
and Norway. King alexander the 3 rd of Scotland would lead his Scots against the Viking hordes of
Haakon Haakonsson king of Norway, a battle that would decide the fate of the western isles of
Scotland and bring and end to years of Viking rule, finally the scourge of the Vikings was over
however it is said on the eve of this battle the Vikings led by Haakon found out where the Scots were
camped and decided to plan an ambush, they would wait for the cover of darkness and travel
through the wee small hours towards the scot camp until only a grassy meadow would separate the
Vikings from early victory.
Trying to move stealthily and reduce noise to a minimum the Viking
soldiers would remove their boots to creep across the meadow but they wouldn’t see some small
thistles that had shrunk down as they came to the end of their life, one of the barefoot Vikings
would step on the thistle and let out a yelp so loud it would alert Alexander and his Scots who would
make hasty retreat.
After securing victory against the Vikings once and for all King Alexander was thankful to the wee
flower that saved his army from certain defeat and would adopt it as the true;