Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Onopordum acanthium

Onopordum acanthium - The botanical name is derived from the Greek words onos (donkey), perdo (to consume), and acanthos (thorn), meaning 'thorny plant eaten by donkeys'. The common name Cotton thistle derives from the cotton-like hairs on the leaves; the name Scotch thistle comes from a legend that the plant's thorny thickets helped protect Scotland from the Vikings. Oral folklore holds that as Vikings attempted to sneak up at night to attack and raid Scottish villages, they were stuck by the thistles' thorns and cried out in pain, alerting the townsfolk to the attack and allowing them to fight back and drive back the invaders.

I've found that I am no tougher than the ordinary Viking, and have cried out when striking this very plant with my hand as I passed by on my bike. Notice the proximity to the trail... I'm not allowed to kill this plant due to feelings of some of our more sensitive riders.

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