Floral confusion


When I was a kid I thought a teasel* was probably a kind of thistle**, because they were both prickly, which is a good defense against wandering herbivores. It turns out that botanically they’re in the same class (Magnoliopsidamore or less), but that’s the closest they’re related.

I snapped this at the Bot Garden the other month, so this is probably a non-native and it may not even be a thistle, although it resembles one (sorry, I neglected to take notes while I was photographing). Love the bumbler….

* Apparently teasels are favored by some weavers for brushing new fabric to raise the nap, and they were cultivated to assure a proper supply. Who knew?

** In Celtic symbolism, thistles and burrs apparently refer to nobility of character and of birth, a lovely thought for what I think of as annoying weeds that typically grow in poor soils.

One comment

  1. Pooh says:

    While in Scotland, my friend pointed out large thistles growing in the cloisters in a castle. When she said she thought they needed weeding, I reminded her that the thistle was the royal symbol of Scotland!