Nobody knows exactly how the thistle became Scotland's national flower, but it has been part of Scottish heraldry for more than 500 years.
The Order of the Thistle is the most important order of chivalry in Scotland
It's not entirely clear when it was founded, but it was James VII of Scotland who gave it a legal basis in 1687. The order consists of only 16 members - the so-called Knights and Ladies - as well as a few additional persons (mainly parts of the royal family or foreign monarchs) with the Queen as sovereign.
The motto of the order is:
Nemo me impune lacessit (meaning: No-one harms me with impunity)
The order's church is the Thistle Chapel in St. Giles, Edinburgh.
As Scotland is home to a wide variety of different thistles, it is impossible to say which of them is the true symbol of Scotland.
The thistle is also the official symbol of the Scottish Tourist Board (Visit Scotland) and thistle decorations can be found all over Scotland.
I just bought a thistle and planted it in the garden ...
Do you have thistles in your garden?