“I suppose none of you is sitting on a thistle by any chance?”
“It doesn’t do them any Good, you know, sitting on them,”
And each flower is surrounded by sharp spines.
They aren’t native to California.
But they like it here.
In the summer they encroach on certain trails, especially in the back-country. Encroach, until there is no trail, just a nest of thistles.
It’s like running through a bed of needles. The little ones attack me from the knees to the toes, and the big ones from the hands to the knees. Somehow they have worked out how to poke through shoes and under toenails. My legs are coated with pin-pricks of blood and slashes. The hands do not escape either, every now and then a needle will stab me in the fingers. And somehow (I’ve no idea how) my shoulders are slashed. The plants aren’t that tall, but they managed it.