Teacup Thursday: A Botanical Teacup with a Bit of History

This tea cup is made by one of our favorite china companies, Royal Albert. This one is from the Summertime Series.
"Thistle" is an old English name for a large group of plants with a dubious reputation with many believing its "roots" trace back to the primeval curse upon the earth. The thistle is a hearty weed which spreads easily, and can take over good grazing ground. In fact, in our county, the weed is banned and farmers are required to keep this invasive weed out of their fields. When we purchased our farm 8 years ago...we had no knowledge about this noxious weed; we actually learned of it when we received a notice from the DNR that we had a couple areas infected and that it needed to be removed within 10 days. We cannot tell you how many Memorial weekends we have spent walking the fields trying to rid them of this much determined weed. Thankfully, after a good two-three years of dedication, we have cleared our fields, however, it is something you have to constantly stay on top of. Although, we will agree, the flower head is quite pretty...and the little gold finches enjoy the seeds...it is very painful to touch as the leaves have very sharp prickles and gloves are needed when removing it.

As ones who enjoy everything English, we found ourselves quite curious as to why the thistle had regal stature there. Apparently, history books tell us that during the reign of Malcom I of Scotland, Norsemen attempted to capture the Staines Castle by wading across the dry moat in bare feet only to find the moat had been overgrown with the common cotton thistle. Thankfully for the Scotsmen, the painful cries of the warriors roused the castle guards and the Norsemen were defeated. To commemorate this victory, the flower became the emblem of Scotland.

Due to our unpleasant encounter with the "thistle," this pretty tea cup, would not have been one we would have naturally gravitated too on it's own, but it happened to come in a lot of 15 English tea cups we acquired last summer. However, after investigating it's English history we have a deeper sense of appreciation for this plant of 'ill repute!'

Other's Who Are Participating in
Teacup Thursday!


  1. I Love your teacup!!! My Mom has a similar Royal Albert Thistle teacup that I have always loved!! I did not know the history behind why the thistle is Scotland's flower, so this was a very interesting post.

  2. I so enjoyed reading this post about the thistle. I didn't know what a problem it could be and really enjoyed seeing it growing in Scotland years ago. My mom has been giving away her tea cups these days and when I was visiting she asked me to choose one and this is the one I chose.

  3. This information is terrific! zi have certainly printed it out!

  4. I came over of Bernideens Tea Time Blog and discovered your todays post. Royal Albert is one of my favorite china manufacturer because this company made so many nice patterns. This one is really adorable and I loved to read about the Thistle. If all the thistles would taste like artichokes they weren't no problem anymore.
    Greetings, Johanna

  5. Funny to see the plant of "ill repute" on a teacup, but very pretty. Thanks for the history lesson.

  6. I've come to appreciate the thistle having married into a Scottish clan, and YOUR teacup is the prettiest thistle pattern I've ever seen! I love how you've started Teacup Thursday. I'll try to squeeze in a teacup post on Thursday as well.


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