Sleeping Beauty. Eeyore. Two characters that were mentioned when I told the children we would be learning about thistles for nature study. I do have a little bit of a history with thistles. Back on the road I grew up on there were plenty of thistles to see. I remember their pink/purple blossoms. I even took a bull thistle to school for show and tell, even telling my classmates this was the kind of thistle that grew up around Sleeping Beauty’s castle. But its been years since I’ve seen a thistle. I’m sure I would have had I looked closely enough.
For this nature study, I had planned a little nature trip over to the park for our study. But…
…something changed our plans. Sunshine and a stick fort. Eldest boy started a stick fort on a beautiful fall day. That did it. We were in the backyard the rest of the day. So, I moved the thistle study to the stick fort.
From our field guides we noticed:
- how beautiful a thistle looks when the blossom is fully opened
- one type is called a horrible thistle
- thistles are outlawed in 37 states!
- bees use them to produce a fine honey
- thistles are composite flowers
- thistle seeds have pretty, parachute like tufts (the older children enjoyed sketching)
Another wonderful prompting by Handbook of Nature Study. Even though we didn’t see thistles first hand, we learned some very interesting facts about them and spent an entire afternoon outside!