Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles occur all over the plant – on the stem and flat parts of leaves. They are an adaptation that protects the plant from being eaten by herbivores. Typically, an involucre with a clasping shape of a cup or urn subtends each of a thistle's flowerheads.

The term thistle is sometimes taken to mean exactly those plants in the tribe Cardueae (synonym: Cynareae),[1] especially the genera Carduus, Cirsium, and Onopordum.[2] However, plants outside this tribe are sometimes called thistles, and if this is done thistles would form a polyphyletic group.

A thistle is the floral emblem of Lorraine and Scotland, as well as the emblem of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Milk thistle flowerhead
Milk thistle flowerhead
Red Thistle
Cirsium arizonicum, showing arachnoid cobwebbiness on stems and leaves, with ants attending aphids that might be taking advantage of the shelter.


Musk Thistle - - 893820
Carduus nutans in the early morning light.
Thistledown 1781
Thistledown, a method of seed dispersal by wind. The tiny seeds are a favourite of goldfinches and some other small birds.

Genera in the Asteraceae with the word thistle often used in their common names include:

Plants in families other than Asteraceae which are sometimes called thistle include:

Economic significance

Thistles, even if one restricts the term to members of the Asteraceae, are too varied a group for generalisation; many are troublesome weeds, including some invasive species of Cirsium, Carduus, Silybum and Onopordum.[3] Typical adverse effects are competition with crops and interference with grazing in pastures, where dense growths of spiny vegetation suppress forage plants and repel grazing animals from eating either the thistle plants or neighbouring forage. Some species, although not intensely poisonous, do affect the health of animals that swallow more than small amounts of the material.[4][5]

Conversely however, the genus Cynara includes commercially important species of artichoke and some species regarded as major weeds are commercial sources of vegetable rennet used in commercial cheese making.[6] Similarly, some species of Silybum that occur as weeds, also are cultivated for seeds that yield vegetable oil and pharmaceutical compounds such as Silibinin.[7][8][9]

Other thistles that nominally are weeds are important honey plants, both as bee fodder in general, and as sources of luxury monofloral honey products.[3][10][11]


Six-spot Burnet on a spiny plumeless thistle
Six-spot burnet moths on a thistle flowerhead

Thistle flowers are favourite nectar sources of the pearl-bordered fritillary, small pearl-bordered fritillary, high brown fritillary, and dark green fritillary butterflies.[12] Thistles (and thistle-seed feeders) also attract goldfinches.

Some thistles (for example Cirsium vulgare, native to Eurasia), have been widely introduced outside their native range.[13] Control measures include Trichosirocalus weevils, but a problem with this approach, at least in North America, is that the introduced weevils may affect native thistles at least as much as the desired targets.[14]

Thistles have been said to be very important nectar sources for pollinators. Some ecological organizations, such as the Xerces Society, have attempted to raise awareness of their benefits, to counteract the general agricultural and home garden labeling of thistles as unwanted weeds. The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus for instance, was highlighted as traditionally relying upon taller large-flowered thistle species such as Tall thistle, Cirsium altissimum, for its migration.[15] Although such organizations focus on the benefits of native thistles, certain non-native thistles, such as Cirsium vulgare in North America, may provide similar benefits to wildlife. Some prairie and wildflower seed production companies supply bulk seed for native North American thistle species, for wildlife habitat restoration, although availability tends to be low. Thistles are particularly valued by bumblebees for their high nectar production. Cirsium vulgare ranked in the top 10 for nectar production in a UK plants survey conducted by the AgriLand project which is supported by the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative.[16] Bull thistle was also a top producer of nectar sugar in another study in Britain, ranked third with a production per floral unit of (2323 ± 418μg).[17]

Medical uses

Maud Grieve recorded that Pliny and medieval writers had thought it could return hair to bald heads and that in the early modern period it had been believed to be a remedy for headaches, plague, canker sores, vertigo, and jaundice.[18]


Scottish thistle

Thistle Royal Badge of Scotland
Scottish thistle as a Heraldic badge.

The thistle has been the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III (1249–1286) and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470. It is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland. It is found in many Scottish symbols and as the name of several Scottish football clubs. The thistle, crowned with the Scottish crown, was the symbol of seven of the eight former Scottish Police Services (from which a new national Police Service, Police Scotland, was formed in 2013), the sole exception being the former Northern Constabulary. The thistle is also the emblem of Encyclopædia Britannica, which originated in Edinburgh, Scotland.

It is also used to symbolise connection with Scotland overseas. For example, in Canada, it is one of the four floral emblems on the flag of Montreal; in the US, Carnegie Mellon University features the thistle in its crest in honour of the Scottish heritage of its founder, Andrew Carnegie.

According to a legend, an invading Norse army was attempting to sneak up at night upon a Scottish army's encampment. During this operation one barefoot Norseman had the misfortune to step upon a thistle, causing him to cry out in pain, thus alerting Scots to the presence of the Norse invaders. Some sources suggest the specific occasion was the Battle of Largs, which marked the beginning of the departure of King Haakon IV (Haakon the Elder) of Norway who, having control of the Northern Isles and Hebrides, had harried the coast of the Kingdom of Scotland for some years.[19] Which species of thistle is referred to in the original legend is disputed. Popular modern usage favours cotton thistle (Onopordum acanthium), perhaps because of its more imposing appearance, though it is unlikely to have occurred in Scotland in medieval times; the spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare), an abundant native species in Scotland, is a more likely candidate.[20][21] Other species, including dwarf thistle (Cirsium acaule), musk thistle (Carduus nutans), and melancholy thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum) have also been suggested.[22]

Thistle of Lorraine

Grandes Armes de Nancy
Coat of arms of Nancy, former capital of the Duchy of Lorraine.

The thistle, and more precisely Onopordum acanthium, is one of the symbols of Lorraine, together with its coat of arms which displays three avalerions, and the Cross of Lorraine.

Lorraine is a region located in northeastern France, along the border with Luxembourg and Germany. Before the French Revolution, a large part of the region formed the Duchy of Lorraine. In the Middle Ages, the thistle was an emblem of the Virgin Mary because its white sap would bring to mind the milk falling from the breast of the Mother of God. It was later adopted as a personal symbol by René of Anjou, together with the Cross of Lorraine, then known as the Cross of Anjou. It seems through his book Livre du cuer d'amours espris that the Duke chose the thistle as his emblem not only because it was a Christian symbol, but also because he associated it with physical love.[23]

The thistle and the cross were used again by his grandson, René II, Duke of Lorraine, who introduced them in the region. The two symbols became hugely popular among the local people during the Battle of Nancy in 1477, during which the Lorrain army defeated Burgundy. The Duke's motto was "Qui s'y frotte s'y pique", meaning "who touches it, pricks oneself", with a similar idea to the Scottish motto "Nemo me impune lacessit". Nowadays the thistle is still the official symbol of the city of Nancy, as well as the emblem of the AS Nancy football team, and the Lorraine Regional Natural Park.[24][25]

Place names

Carduus is the Latin term for a thistle (hence cardoon, chardon in French), and Cardonnacum is the Latin word for a place with thistles. This is believed to be the origin of name of the Burgundy village of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, which in turn is thought to be the home of the famous Chardonnay grape variety.


  1. ^ "Cardueae". Tree of Life webproject. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Thistle". Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  3. ^ a b Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Wim Reybroeck, Johan W. Veen and Anuradha Gupta (2014-09-18). Beekeeping for Poverty Alleviation and Livelihood Security. Springer. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-94-017-9199-1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ W. T. Parsons; Eric George Cuthbertson (2001). Noxious Weeds of Australia. Csiro Publishing. pp. 189–. ISBN 978-0-643-06514-7.
  5. ^ Watt, John Mitchell; Breyer-Brandwijk, Maria Gerdina: The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa 2nd ed Pub. E & S Livingstone 1962
  6. ^ Vioque, Montserrat; Gómez, Rafael; Sánchez, Emilia; Mata, Carmen; Tejada, Luis; Fernández-Salguero, José (2000). "Chemical and Microbiological Characteristics of Ewes' Milk Cheese Manufactured with Extracts from Flowers of Cynara cardunculusand Cynara humilisas Coagulants". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 48 (2): 451–456. doi:10.1021/jf990326v.
  7. ^ Pepping J. Milk thistle: Silybum marianum. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 1999 Jun 15;56(12):1195-7. PubMed PMID 10484652.
  8. ^ Laekeman G, De Coster S, De Meyer K. [St. Mary's Thistle: an overview]. J Pharm Belg. 2003;58(1):28–31. Review. French. PubMed PMID 12722542.
  9. ^ Ali ALEMARDAN, Anestis KARKANIS, Reza SALEHI. Breeding Objectives and Selection Criteria for Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.) Improvement. Not Bot Horti Agrobo, 2013, 41(2):340–347 Print ISSN 0255-965X; Electronic ISSN 1842-4309
  10. ^ C. Marina Marchese; Kim Flottum (4 June 2013). The Honey Connoisseur: Selecting, Tasting, and Pairing Honey, With a Guide to More Than 30 Varietals. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. pp. 206–. ISBN 978-1-60376-332-5.
  11. ^ Technical Bulletin. The Department. 1940. pp. 5–.
  12. ^ Bracken for Butterflies Archived 3 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine leaflet c0853 by Butterfly Conservation, January 2005
  13. ^ Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Ten., Asteraceae , Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)
  14. ^ Takahashi, Masaru; Louda, SM; Miller, TE; O'Brien, CW (2009). "Occurrence of Trichosirocalus horridus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) on Native Cirsium altissimum Versus Exotic C. Vulgare in North American Tallgrass Prairie". Environmental Entomology. 38 (3): 731–40. doi:10.1603/022.038.0325. PMID 19508782.
  15. ^ Eckberg, James; Lee-Mäder, Eric; Hopwood, Jennifer; Foltz Jordan, Sarah; Borders, Brianna (2017). "Native Thistles: A Conservation Practitioner's Guide". The Xerces Society. The Xerces Society. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Which flowers are the best source of nectar?". Conservation Grade. 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  17. ^ Hicks, DM; Ouvrard, P; Baldock, KCR (2016). "Food for Pollinators: Quantifying the Nectar and Pollen Resources of Urban Flower Meadows". PLoS ONE. 11 (6): e0158117. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158117. PMC 4920406. PMID 27341588.
  18. ^ Grieve, Maud. "A Modern Herbal". Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  19. ^ Webmaster, John Duncan (4 April 2009). "Scots History Online". UK: Scots History Online. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Flowers of Scotland: Thistle". Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  21. ^ "Why is the THISTLE a Scottish national symbol?". Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  22. ^ "Scotland Fact File: The Thistle". Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  23. ^ Christian Pfister (1908). Histoire de Nancy. 1. Berger-Levrault. p. 554.
  24. ^ "Le chardon". Tela Botanica. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Origine du blason de Nancy". Nancy WebTV. Retrieved 11 February 2017.

External links

Texts on Wikisource:

2018–19 Scottish Championship

The 2018–19 Scottish Championship (known as the Ladbrokes Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the 24th season in the current format of 10 teams in the second tier of Scottish football. The fixtures were published on 15 June 2018, with the league starting on 4 August 2018.Ten teams contest the league: Alloa Athletic, Ayr United, Dundee United, Dunfermline Athletic, Falkirk, Greenock Morton, Inverness CT, Partick Thistle, Queen of the South and Ross County.

Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association

The Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association (AAFA) is the governing body for amateur football in the City of Aberdeen and County of Aberdeenshire in North East Scotland. They run the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football League and associated cup competitions. The association was founded in 1947 and is affiliated to the Scottish Amateur Football Association.

Bull Thistle Cave Archaeological Site

The Bull Thistle Cave Archaeological Site is an archaeological site on the National Register of Historic Places, located in Tazewell County, Virginia. It is a vertical shaft pit burial cave. The distribution of the skeletal remains indicates that bodies were either thrown or lowered into the cave. On the surface of the cave floor, researchers have discovered the remains of a minimum of 11 bodies. Based on an artifact recovered from the site, it is estimated that the cave was used for burials between 1300 and 1600 AD.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Caledonian F.C.

Caledonian Football Club was a football club from the city of Inverness, Highland, Scotland. It played in the Highland Football League until 1994, when it merged with Inverness Thistle to form Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Caledonian Stadium

The Caledonian Stadium, is an association football stadium situated in the Longman area of Inverness, Scotland. The stadium plays host to the home matches of Scottish Professional Football League club Inverness Caledonian Thistle.


Cirsium is a genus of perennial and biennial flowering plants in the Asteraceae, one of several genera known commonly as thistles. They are more precisely known as plume thistles. These differ from other thistle genera (Carduus, Silybum and Onopordum) in having feathered hairs to their achenes. The other genera have a pappus of simple unbranched hairs.They are mostly native to Eurasia and northern Africa, with about 60 species from North America (although several species have been introduced outside their native ranges).

Thistles are known for their effusive flower heads, usually purple, rose or pink, also yellow or white. The radially symmetrical disc flowers are at the end of the branches and are visited by many kinds of insects, featuring a generalised pollination syndrome. They have erect stems and prickly leaves, with a characteristic enlarged base of the flower which is commonly spiny. The leaves are alternate, and some species can be slightly hairy. Extensions from the leaf base down the stem, called wings, can be lacking (Cirsium arvense), conspicuous (Cirsium vulgare), or inconspicuous. They can spread by seed, and also by rhizomes below the surface (Cirsium arvense). The seed has tufts of tiny hair, or pappus, which can carry them far by wind.

Cirsium thistles are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Cirsium. The seeds are attractive to small finches such as American goldfinch.

Most species are considered weeds, typically by agricultural interests. Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle, common thistle, or spear thistle) is listed as a noxious weed in nine US states. Some species in particular are cultivated in gardens and wildflower plantings for their aesthetic value and/or to support pollinators such as butterflies. Some species dubbed weeds by various interest groups can also provide these benefits. Cirsium vulgare, for instance, ranked in the top 10 for nectar production in a UK plants survey conducted by the AgriLand project which is supported by the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative. Bull thistle was also a top producer of nectar sugar in another study in Britain, ranked third with a production per floral unit of (2323 ± 418μg). Not only does it provide abundant nectar, it provides seeds and floss for birds, such as the American goldfinch, Spinus tristis, and supports the larvae of a Painted Lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui. A great many native North American plants have weed in their common names, despite their beneficial qualities, such as Asclepias tuberosa, commonly known as butterflyweed. Some other common species are: Cirsium lanceolatum, Cirsium palustre, Cirsium oleraceum.

Some ecological organizations, such as the Xerces Society, have attempted to raise awareness of the benefits of thistles, to counteract the general agricultural and home garden labeling of thistles as unwanted weeds. The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus for instance, was highlighted as relying upon thistles such as Tall thistle, Cirsium altissimum, for its migration, as a very important nectar source. Although such organizations focus on the benefits of native thistles, non-native thistles, such as Cirsium vulgare in North America, may provide similar benefits to wildlife. Some prairie and wildflower seed production companies supply bulk seed for native North American thistle species, for wildlife habitat restoration, although availability tends to be low. Thistles are particularly valued by bumblebees for their high nectar production.

Certain species of Cirsium, like Cirsium monspessulanum, Cirsium pyrenaicum and Cirsium vulgare, have been traditionally used as food in rural areas of southern Europe. Cirsium oleraceum is cultivated as a food source in Japan and India.

The word 'Cirsium' derives from the Greek word kirsos meaning 'swollen vein'. Thistles were used as a remedy against swollen veins. The flower blooms April to August.

Cirsium arvense

Cirsium arvense is a perennial species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native throughout Europe and northern Asia, and widely introduced elsewhere. The standard English name in its native area is creeping thistle.The plant is beneficial for pollinators that rely on nectar. It also was a top producer of nectar sugar in a 2016 study in Britain, with a second-place ranking due to a production per floral unit of (2609 +/- 239 μg).

Firhill Stadium

Firhill Stadium is a football and former rugby union, rugby league and greyhound racing stadium located in the Maryhill area of Glasgow, Scotland. Since 1909, the stadium has been the home of Partick Thistle, who compete in the Scottish Championship. The stadium is commonly referred to as simply Firhill, although since September 2017 it has also become known as The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill for sponsorship reasons.Past ground-sharing agreements have seen Firhill act as a temporary home for two other football clubs, Clyde and Hamilton Academical. It was also a venue for the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and the Glasgow Warriors rugby union team between 2007 and 2012. Furthermore, the stadium was used for a short time by Queen's Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics as their own Hampden Park stadium was in use for the Olympic football competitions. As of 2014, the all-seated capacity of Firhill is 10,102.

Highland Football League

The Scottish Highland Football League (commonly known as the Highland League) is a part time, senior professional football league in the north of Scotland. The league, which is the fifth level within Scottish football, is a full member of the Scottish Football Association. It currently consists of 18 teams from the Scottish Highlands as well as the lowlands of Moray and Aberdeenshire.

Until the reorganisation of Scottish football during the 2012–13 season, the league was historically one of the senior leagues in Scottish football. The others being the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League, along with the East of Scotland and South of Scotland Leagues. Since the 2014–15 season, the league (along with the newly formed Lowland Football League) is a feeder division for SPFL's Scottish League Two. The Highland Football League champions play the winners of the Lowland Football League for a chance to face the bottom club in League Two.All clubs are full members of the Scottish Football Association so qualify automatically for the following season's first round of the Scottish Cup. The league champions and the runner-up team receive a bye into the cup's second round. Since 2014, the season's league champion team has also gained a place in the Scottish Challenge Cup; this was extended to the top four clubs from 2016. The champions also take part in the Scottish League Cup.

The league's current sponsorship deal is with the Aberdeen-based Press & Journal media group.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club is a professional football club based in Inverness, Scotland. The team currently competes in the Scottish Championship, the second tier of the Scottish Professional Football League, and hosts home games at Caledonian Stadium.

The club was founded as Caledonian Thistle F.C. in August 1994 by the merger of Highland Football League clubs Caledonian and Inverness Thistle, and adopted its current name two years later. It was formed to apply for a vacancy in the Scottish Football League, and was selected to the Scottish Third Division along with Highland derby rivals Ross County.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle won the Scottish Cup in 2015 and was runner-up in the Scottish League Cup a year earlier. They have also won the Scottish Challenge Cup twice and the Scottish Football League First Division twice. Its highest Premiership position is 3rd in 2014–15.

Inverness Thistle F.C.

Inverness Thistle Football Club was a football club playing in the city of Inverness in northern Scotland.

They were members of the Highland Football League, winning the championship eight times, including its inaugural season: 1893–94.They set a postwar record for the heaviest scoring in a Highland League season, with 124 goals (an average of 4.13 per game) in the 1969–70 season, which stood for 45 years before being beaten in 2015 by Brora Rangers. They wore black and red stripes and played their home games at Kingsmills Park. Like many clubs featuring the name "Thistle", they were often known as the Jags.

Thistle applied for membership of the Scottish Football League for the 1973–74 season, but the club lost out to Ferranti Thistle by one vote. It was felt that this was due to clubs in the Central Belt being unwilling to travel to Inverness.

They occasionally qualified for the Scottish Cup. Many regard their most famous result to be the defeat of Kilmarnock by a 3–0 scoreline in season 1984–85.

When two vacancies were recorded in the Scottish League in time for season 1994–95 Thistle decided to again apply for membership. However to improve their chances they decided to merge with city rivals Caledonian who also wanted to apply, as they felt it unlikely both clubs would get both places, and perhaps neither would gain entry if they both applied. This decision was not without controversy. Fans of both clubs bitterly opposed the merger and many tried to stop it. In this they were unsuccessful, and the new entity, Caledonian Thistle (subsequently renamed Inverness Caledonian Thistle) were elected along with Ross County to membership of the Scottish League's Third Division for season 1994–95.

The last game of Inverness Thistle Football Club was against Lossiemouth on Saturday, 14 May 1994. The club was 110 years old.

Part of Inverness Thistle lives on at the Harmsworth Park, home of Wick Academy, as the floodlight pylons from Kingsmills Park were relocated there for their admission into the Highland League.

List of football clubs in Scotland

This is a list of football clubs in Scotland.

Livingston F.C.

Livingston Football Club is a Scottish football club in Livingston, West Lothian.

Livingston currently play in the Scottish Premiership and were founded in 1943 as Ferranti Thistle, a works team. The club was admitted to the Scottish Football League and renamed as Meadowbank Thistle in 1974, and played its matches at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh. In 1995, the club was relocated to Livingston, West Lothian and renamed after the town. Since then Livingston have played their home games at Almondvale Stadium. In the ten years following the move to Livingston the club enjoyed notable success, winning promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2001, qualifying for the UEFA Cup in its maiden season in the top flight (finishing third behind Celtic and Rangers) and winning the 2004 Scottish League Cup. However, the club hit financial problems in 2004, and was relegated to the Scottish First Division in 2006. In July 2009 the club faced further financial problems and were on the verge of suffering a liquidation event before a deal was struck. Livingston were subsequently demoted to the Scottish Third Division, but the club achieved consecutive promotions and went on to regain its place in the top tier.

North Caledonian Football Association

The North Caledonian Football Association is a football association operating throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and is a Recognised Body of the SFA and as such has its senior football competitions officially registered with the Scottish Football Association.

Order of the Thistle

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland (James II of England and Ireland) who asserted that he was reviving an earlier Order. The Order consists of the Sovereign and sixteen Knights and Ladies, as well as certain "extra" knights (members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs). The Sovereign alone grants membership of the Order; he or she is not advised by the Government, as occurs with most other Orders.

The Order's primary emblem is the thistle, the national flower of Scotland. The motto is Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin for "No one provokes me with impunity"). The same motto appears on the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom for use in Scotland and some pound coins, and is also the motto of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Scots Guards, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The patron saint of the Order is St Andrew.

Most British orders of chivalry cover the whole United Kingdom, but the three most exalted ones each pertain to one constituent country only. The Order of the Thistle, which pertains to Scotland, is the second-most senior in precedence. Its equivalent in England, The Most Noble Order of the Garter, is the oldest documented order of chivalry in the United Kingdom, dating to the middle fourteenth century. In 1783 an Irish equivalent, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, was founded, but has now fallen dormant.

Partick Thistle F.C.

Partick Thistle Football Club (nicknamed the Jags) are a professional football club from Glasgow, Scotland. Despite their name, the club are based at Firhill Stadium in the Maryhill area of the city, and have not played in Partick since 1908. The club have been members of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) since its formation in 2013. Thistle currently compete in the Scottish Championship, the second tier of the SPFL structure, following relegation via play-offs from the Scottish Premiership in the 2017–18 season.

Since 1936, Thistle have played in their distinctive red-and-yellow jerseys of varying designs, with hoops, stripes and predominantly yellow tops with red trims having been used, although in 2009 a centenary kit was launched in the original navy-blue style to commemorate 100 years at Firhill. Since 1908 the club have won the Scottish Second Division once and the Scottish First Division (second tier, now the Scottish Championship) six times, most recently in 2013. Thistle have won the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup in 1921 and 1971 respectively.

The club are currently managed by Gary Caldwell, following the departure of Alan Archibald. Under Archibald's management, the club achieved promotion to the newly formed Scottish Premiership in 2013, and remained there for five consecutive seasons. During this spell Thistle secured major investment and in 2017 finished in the top six of Scottish football for the first time in over three decades. Key players such as club legend Kris Doolan broke numerous records and became one of the club’s top goal scorers. Despite relegation in the 2017–18 Scottish Premiership season, Archibald remained as Thistle's manager. However, after a poor start to the 2018–19 Scottish Championship campaign Archibald's 5 year tenure came to an end.

Silybum marianum

Silybum marianum has other common names including cardus marianus, milk thistle, blessed milkthistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary's thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle and Scotch thistle (though not to be confused with Onopordum acanthium). This species is an annual or biennial plant of the Asteraceae family. This fairly typical thistle has red to purple flowers and shiny pale green leaves with white veins. Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world.

Thistle F.C.

Thistle Football Club (also known as Glasgow Thistle and Bridgeton Thistle) was a 19th century football club based in Glasgow. The club was briefly a member of the Scottish Football League Division Two, and has been described as the most insignificant and least successful to have entered the League. They played at Braehead Park during their Scottish League season.

Thistle Hotels

Thistle Hotels, run by glh., is a UK-based hotel company with a portfolio of 8 Central London hotels and Thistle Poole in Dorset, operating in the three and four star sector.

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