Sunday, September 09, 2007

Prickly in September

Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

The plants are truly impressive. The blooms are a perfect shade of purple, and specimens of this ebullient creature are statuesque, often reaching several feet in height. They're resilient, springing up everywhere and almost impossible to dislodge once they have chosen a new home for themselves. They have prickly bracts and wicked spines in abundance, and one is wise to treat them with caution and a healthy dollop of respect when meeting them along the old rail fence or in the woods.

They are also absolutely magnificent, especially at this time of the year when they are coming apart and blowing all over the western field. In a week or so, I shall be besotted with autumn leaves in rainbow hues. A few weeks after that, I shall be huddled in the depths of a warm anorak and gazing rapturously at milkweed pods and whiskery trees, but at the moment, it is the thistles which tug at my sensibilities, and their architecture is exquisite.

Yesterday, I stood out in our windy western field and marveled at the great thistles in perpetual motion - they made me feel like singing, and I wished I had the words to describe them as they should be described. Being a tad prickly myself at times, I adore their spines and prickles.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite bouquets is composed of these purple prickly beauties and stalks of lavender. Unconventional beauty but then all it takes is an unusual eye to see the beauty and gifts of the strange and other worldy.


Linda G. said...

Sadly, our local Forest Service has deemed this lovely thistle, (scotch, I believe?) as a noxious weed. I have always loved them..

Rowan said...

I love thistles, both the lovely purple flowers and then the seedheads. I haven't come across the name bull thistle before, I think we call it spear thistle.