All about the thistle on St Andrew’s Day

The thistle is the national flower of Scotland and St Andrew’s Day is the perfect time for us to let you know a little bit about it.

The term thistle covers many different types of flower, most of them in the family Asteraceae. They are characterised by prickles all over the stem and leaves and they most often have a purple flower head.

In the language of flowers the thistle represents nobility of character, as well as birth.

It is said that it became the national flower of Scotland when a Viking attacker stepped on one. His cries of pain alerted the soldiers of a nearby Scottish castle and they were able to defend themselves from the impending attack.

Another story is that it became the national flower through an ancient order called the Order of the Thistle, which was founded by King James VII of Scotland in the 1600s. He said he was reviving an old order and its members would be a number of knights and ladies, as well as himself.

Saint Andrew

Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland in the middle of the 10th century and artefacts of his were brought to the place where the modern town of St Andrew’s stands today. According to legend, Óengus II led an army into battle against the Angles. It is said that while he prayed on the eve of battle he promised he would appoint Saint Andrew the patron saint of Scotland if they were to win.

On the morning of the battle Óengus II saw a white cross formed by clouds in the sky. They took this as a sign of divine intervention and the army stood beneath it. Despite having fewer men, they emerged victorious and Óengus II honoured his pledge and made Andrew the patron saint of Scotland.

It could also be that the design of the Scottish flag comes from this legend – the white cross of clouds on a background of blue sky.

St Andrew is celebrated with a feast day on November 30th. He is also the patron saint of Ukraine, Russia, Romania and a number of cities across Europe.

Interflora can create a number of gorgeous designs incorporating the thistle. These include the Christmas Cracker Hand-tied – £29.99, a stunning red and green bouquet and also one of the most popular of the Christmas collection. If you are looking to have flowers delivered this Christmas then the Winter Perfect Gift – £29.99 would make a stunning addition to any home. White and soft pink flowers are paired with blue thistles then given a touch of sparkle with a glittered rose.

To have any of these fantastic flowers delivered please visit