FIELD THISTLE Cirsium discolor
In Psalm 115:113-115, the psalmist describes the idols that men make as having mouths that cannot speak; eyes that cannot see; ears that cannot hear; hands that cannot feel; feet that cannot walk.
Then in praise of the Living Lord, he states, “He will bless those who fear the Lord, the small together with the great. May you be blessed of the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.”
Oh, what a thought. He blesses “the small together with the great.” Each of us are valued equally in God’s loving eyes.
Society may award millions of dollars in salary to a gifted athlete or clever CEO, but in God’s sight the value scale is different. They are no more important to Him than the poorly paid waitress, or a homeless person, or a Darfur orphan.
Today we examine a wildflower that is rejected by the farmer because it spoils the hay and gives cattle indigestion. Only goats and aphids love it. In spite of its lowly position, it has a beauty worthy of recognition.
One should approach all thistles with caution. This field thistle does not have spines on the stem like the bull thistle or the nodding thistle but the leaves are armed to make life miserable for intruders.
The blooms of all thistles are very similar. They could be called magenta, but closer examination reveals some hot pink in the center of young blooms and light purple on the outer edges of the aging blooms. The flower heads of the field thistle measure 1 to 2 inches across.
A distinguishing characteristic of this thistle is the leaves under the bloom that curl upward around the flower head. A second characteristic to note is the light color of the stem and the vertical veins of different hues. When undisturbed, the field thistle has been known to exceed 6 feet, but where regularly mowed they rarely reach 3 feet.
Field thistle starts blooming in early summer and may continue into fall. It may be found wherever weeds grow except in regularly cultivated gardens. They like roadsides, waste places and pastures.
From Psalm 115, we learned that God’s attention has no bounds. Let us expand the bounds of our love and learn the full scope of Jesus’s command “Love they neighbor as thyself.”
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. This column is included in a two-volume set of books of wildflower columns he has published. To purchase the books, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center St. in Olde Town Conyers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.