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Life is like a thistle

Life is like a thistle
Photo Information
Copyright: AC van Dyk (Dyker) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-29
Categories: Flowers
Camera: Canon 300D, Sigma 70-300 DG Macro
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/125 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-07-31 4:15
Viewed: 5310
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Unknown thistle

I have no idea what's the name of this thistle. Maybe there is someone out there who can assist me.

This photo was taken in the patch of open veld right behind my house. The last seven months I had a bit of a difficult time and couldn't take any photos. I was involved in a serious car accident and basically lost ±80% of the use of my right arm. I was in and out of hospital for a number of operations, but eventually it looks like the doctors have conquered the infections and gangrene. During this time I only had the strength to do some irregular critiques and I really hope I will be able to visit all the lovely photos and photographers more regularly. I still don't know how I will continue with photography, but for sure this experience and situation is not going to beat me into a corner.

Looking at the beauty of this thistle I realise that life is in many ways the same. There is beauty on the surface, but below there are sharp spiky thorns that can cause painful injury. Lots of things have happened on the site recently, but as I learned with my arm, to carry on no matter what, I am sure that things will once again normalise and life will continue in its friendly and loving way this site was before.

Thistle (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the plant family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant - on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation to protect the plant against herbivorous animals, discouraging them from feeding on the plant. Typically, an involucre with a clasping shape of a cup or urn subtends each of a thistle's flowerheads.

The term thistle is sometimes taken to mean exactly those plants in the tribe Cynareae (synonym: Cardueae), especially the genera Carduus, Cirsium, and Onopordum. However, plants outside this tribe are sometimes called thistles, and if this is done thistles would form a polyphyletic group.


In the language of flowers, the thistle (like the burr) is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment. For this reason the thistle is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland.

Another story is that a Viking attacker stepped on one at night and cried out, so alerting the defenders of a Scottish castle. Whatever the justification, the national flower of Scotland is the thistle - specifically Onopordum acanthium, the Scots thistle. It is found in many Scottish symbols and in the names of several Scottish football clubs.

Place names

Carduus is the Latin term for a thistle (hence cardoon), and Cardonnacum is the Latin word for a place with thistles. This is believed to be the origin of name of the Burgundy village of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, which in turn is thought to be the home of the famous Chardonnay grape variety.

maurydv, lousat, Pitoncle, Shoot_Score, Amelia has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

great shot, the thistle is sharp like a knife

Ciao Dyker,
bellissima macro dal titolo metaforico, eccellenti POV e composizione, straordinaria definizione dei dettagli, molto belli e saturi i colori e ottimo BG.
Grazie e complimenti.

  • Great 
  • norma (24)
  • [2008-07-31 6:05]

the photo is as sharp as the thistle itself.

I hope though, that life will be kind to you
the thistleflower has very soft gentle seeds
so light: the wind blows them away.

very kind regard to you AC

amazingly sharp pic, I hope someone at TN will identify it, TFS Ori

Great detailed close-up, the colour and light look perfect. It's a wonderful shot.
Best wishes,

  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2008-07-31 9:29]

Hi AC,
this image of thistle is very beautiful in all respects.
don't worry, we are going to see many & many images from you in the future to enjoy.

  • Great 
  • Aramok Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 896 W: 101 N: 1501] (5166)
  • [2008-07-31 10:53]


I know that you can recover, it will just take time. I know what it is like, having had 10 ops on my left arm (waiting for the 11th but thats very minor this time) and at one point being too ill to walk... I am now fully fit (but still partially paralysed down the whole of the left side of my body) but I still cycle and swim everyday and climb mountains when my health permits. hopefully you will get there eventually as well... though it is 15 years since my accident, time is the best healer...

Great shot and fantastic sharpness and light. It was the light that attracted me to the picture.

TFS and keep smiling and trying. it is really the only way.


  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2008-07-31 13:10]

Hi AC!

Is the glass half full or half empty? Is life as beautiful and coloured or as stinging and harsh as this thistle? I know it's easy to say, but I nevertheless believe that the way we look at things is very important.

Now, for me you present us here a real beauty. The lighting and the colours are superb and I wish this beautiful thistle will help you to recover...

I'm sorry, I can't help you for the ID.

Kind regards


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-08-01 2:27]

Hi Dyker,very beutifull pic,the light make a difference,wonderfulls and warms colors and fanatstics details,great idea and great realisation,just my best compliment,have a ncie day,Luciano

Bonour AC,
Très belle publication, bien composée dans laquelle le sujet est particulièrement bien mis en valeur par la finesse des détails et la délicatesse des couleurs.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

What a great shot! The interaction of the light with the spiky petals, and the whole flower offset against the bark b/g makes this a lovely presentation!

I wish U a speedy recovery!

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2008-08-31 0:51]

Hello AC van Dyk,
this is an interesting and exciting shot.
Very sharp and great clarity.
Nice symmetrical composition with nice light control.


  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-08-31 5:18]

hello AC
wonderful capture of this beautiful plant
i like POV, BG, DOF, light, colours and sharpness

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