A Bouquet of Bull Thistles


I know, I know, I’ve written about bull thistles before.   I really can’t say why I’m so entranced with what some consider a noxious weed.  In fact, if I’d ever had a proper wedding, I probably would have been the first bride ever to carry a bouquet of bull thistles (perhaps with white leather gloves).   🙂

Part of my attraction is the fact that birds, butterflies, and bees love them so.  And part of it is my fascination with how a plant could be so very prickly (and painfully so) on the outside, yet harbor the most silky soft seed.

So forgive me for a last look at my beloved bull thistles.  These pictures were taken back in September.  I was out trying to take pictures of the pods bursting with downy seeds, whose feathery fronds rendered rainbows in the late afternoon light.  But the wind was strong and the pods kept moving, and I’m afraid my little point-and-shoot wasn’t up to the task.  But there was a sudden gust, and scores of seeds flew up around me in a whirlwind of gossamer grace.   I gasped and began to twirl around with my camera held aloft, just clicking in the air hoping to capture a bit of that grace.  Up they swirled, lifting lightly towards the light until I lost sight of them. 

My photos don’t begin to do justice to what I witnessed.  In fact, most of my pictures were blurry.  But here’s some of what I did capture that wondrous afternoon.







16 Responses to “A Bouquet of Bull Thistles”

  1. June Says:

    Your pictures look pretty darn good to me! It had to be fun and enchanting to watch them float away.

  2. CountryDew Says:

    That’s lovely. Certainly makes me see a thistle as something more than just an irritant that I have to dig out of the yard every now and then!

  3. Susan Says:

    Beautiful pictures! Sometimes the weeds are more interesting than the ‘real’ flowers! Great butterfly shot also.

  4. colleen Says:

    Oh, these shots are absolutely enchanting! And your writing is fun to read. I have a picture in my mind of you getting married with a thistle bouquet to your log splitter, Tom!

  5. wesleyjeanne Says:

    I agree with everyone else–the photos are great! I love the one of the lone seed against the blue sky.
    The post is quite lovely, too by the way.

  6. marion Says:

    Beautiful pictures, and lovely thoughts. You make me realize how much time I am spending indoors, when it is so glorious outside.

  7. ben (aka guitarmaniac) Says:

    Forget the commoners…anything that’s not rare and exceedingly colorful is labeled a weed these days. I love dandelions…

  8. When is Enough Fluff Enough? « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    […] be good for my blog,” I said.  Then I remembered that I’d had at least two posts with the radiant feathery seedpods of  bull thistles. “Or would that be too much fluff?” I thought […]

  9. Laurie Says:


    A delightful post, and the photos are wonderful!

    I didn’t think anyone else enjoyed and loved the
    Bull Thistle like I do. It was nice to discover a kindred

    All the best,

    • Candace Town Says:

      I love Bull Thistle!! I’m having my vow renewal in 3 weeks. Can the blooms be dried and preserved? They are in full bloom right now and I’m afraid there won’t be any of these wonderous “Flowers” left..

      • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

        Hi, Candace. How wonderful that you’re planning a bull thistle bouquet! I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to your question, but I did want to send my best wishes for a lovely vow renewal.

        Perhaps a florist would know whether they can be preserved? It can’t hurt to ask.

        All the best from a fellow bull thistle lover,

  10. Michele Says:

    I too love this plant. I have a garden and when a bull thistle grew right in the path I HAD to leave it!! It was so strong, amazing and steadfast….Thaks for sharing your pics!!

  11. Pam Says:

    I love Bull Thistles. I have a Scottish heritage and I just find them the most beautiful flowers. In fact, I would love to know where I could purchase seeds or how to start them as I would love to add them to my flower beds. I am always planting things for the birds, butterflies and bees. Does anyone have info on this that they would like to share? Thank you so much.

  12. Rachel Says:

    In searching for Bull /thistle pics, I ran across your post. Lovely pictures! For all of you thisle lovers out there, my hometown of Fayette, OH has an annual Bull Thistle Festival the first Saturday of August.We judge the plants (Best of Show wins the Golden Hoe!), have arts and crafts and food booths and entertainment. It’s a fun small town event!

  13. Deb Lloyd Says:

    I have this GIANT Thistle growing in my back yard that i have tenderly cared for since spring. I thought it was a Bull Thistle and was SO PROUD of it until i saw your pictures and realized it may not be a Bull Thistle. The blooms on mine are more rounded and the first buds that are popping now are purple in color. Do you know what kind it is?

  14. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hi, Deb. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know a lot about thistles in general, although I’d probably love them all. 🙂 In fact, I’m really only familiar with the bull thistle. So I’m afraid I really can’t be of much help to you. I would try searching “thistle” in Google Images to see if your thistle comes up. Or maybe look in your local library for a wildflower book. Good luck!

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