Skip to main content
Select Source:

thistle

thistle, popular name for many spiny and usually weedy plants, but especially applied to members of the family Asteraceae (aster family) that have spiny leaves and often showy heads of purple, rose, white, or yellow flowers followed by thistledown seeds (a favorite food of the goldfinch). The Scotch thistle (variously identified, but most often as Onopordum acanthium, now cultivated as an ornamental) is the badge of the Scottish Order of the Thistle and the national emblem of Scotland. The blessed thistle, or St.-Benedict's-thistle (Cnicus benedictus, the Carduus benedictus of Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing, iii:4) was at one time a heal-all and is still sometimes used medicinally. The common, or bull, thistle (Cirsium lanceolatum) and the pasture thistle (Cirsium odoratum) are attractive weeds not to be confused with the so-called Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), naturalized from Europe. A few thistles are cultivated in gardens, e.g., the large-flowered globe thistles, species of the Old World genus Echinops. The Russian thistle is a tumbleweed. Thistle is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thistle." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thistle." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thistle

"thistle." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thistle

thistle

this·tle / ˈ[unvoicedth]isəl/ • n. 1. a widely distributed herbaceous plant (Carlina, Cirsium, Carduus, and other genera) of the daisy family, which typically has a prickly stem and leaves and rounded heads of purple flowers. Its numerous species include the bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare). 2. a plant of this type as the Scottish national emblem, esp. the Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium. DERIVATIVES: this·tly / ˈ[unvoicedth]is(ə)lē/ adj.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thistle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thistle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle-1

"thistle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle-1

thistle

thistle the Scottish national emblem; the Order of the Thistle is the highest order of Scottish knighthood, instituted by James II in 1687 and revived by Queen Anne in 1703.

In biblical use, thistle is also generally used as the type of an unrewarding crop, as in God's words to Adam (Genesis 3:17–18).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thistle." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thistle." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle

"thistle." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle

thistle

thistle Any of numerous species of plants with thorny leaves and yellow, white, pink, or purple flower heads with prickly bracts. The field thistle, Cirsium discolor, resembles the heraldic thistle, which is the national emblem of Scotland. Family Asteraceae/Compositae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thistle." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thistle." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thistle

"thistle." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thistle

thistle

thistle OE. þī́stel = OS. thī́stil, OHG. distil(a) (Du., G. distel), LG. diestel, dîstel, ON. þī́still :- Gmc. *þī́stilaz, -ilō, of unkn. orig.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thistle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thistle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle-2

"thistle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle-2

thistle

thistlehassle, Kassel, passel, tassel, vassal •axel, axle •cancel, hansel, Hänsel, Mansell •transaxle •castle, metatarsal, parcel, tarsal •chancel • sandcastle • Newcastle •Bessel, nestle, pestle, redressal, trestle, vessel, wrestle •Edsel • Texel •intercensal, pencil, stencil •pretzel • staysail • mainsail • Wiesel •abyssal, bristle, epistle, gristle, missal, scissel, thistle, whistle •pixel • plimsoll •tinsel, windsail •schnitzel, spritsail •Birtwistle •paradisal, sisal, trysail •apostle, colossal, dossal, fossil, glossal, jostle, throstle •consul, proconsul, tonsil •dorsal, morsel •council, counsel, groundsel •Mosul • fo'c's'le, forecastle •bustle, hustle, muscle, mussel, Russell, rustle, tussle •gunsel • corpuscle •disbursal, dispersal, Purcell, rehearsal, reversal, succursal, tercel, transversal, traversal, universal •Herzl

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"thistle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"thistle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle-0

"thistle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thistle-0