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I know what you’re thinking (because you’re all rabid FOTW fans who keep meticulous note of every flower featured, to aid you in all your gifting and gardening needs - can’t plant a seed without knowing what boring old botanist it was named after or questionable Greek myth it supposedly evokes, right?). You’re thinking: didn’t you just feature a thistle recently? Well yes, we did, but we’re also particularly enamoured by them at this time of year when they’re in season. Their prickly beauty almost typifies our overarching love of cut flowers that err on the side of the unconventional.

So we’re focusing this week on the echinops in particular, a variety of thistle known for its globular crown of blue, prickle-like flowers. There are a whole host of slightly different variations, each sporting a different shade of blue for all your hyper-specific bouquet needs. The etymology of its name is - for once - pretty hard to dispute: derived from the Greek words ‘ekhinos’ (hedgehog) and ‘ops’ (head), it’s a pretty canny name for a flower with a head that looks a bit like a hedgehog. A hedgehog head.

A eurasian native, it grows in sunny, rocky or bushy places - its hugely loved by bees and their insect kinfolk as a pollinator. Of course though, its heavily associated with Scotland and used as a motif throughout Scottish cities including Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Practical qualities aside, it also acts as an ancient Celtic symbol of noble character. Prickly, beautiful, noble: a perfect summation of both the people and the plant.

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