ASK about the species and sequencing.
CHAT in a 30 minute text chat with the species champion.
VOTE for a species to be sequenced for the first time ever!
Too many to count!
3.6 picograms - that's bigger than the human genome!
A simple single-celled eukaryotic (cell with organelles) organism, like an amoeba. Alive around 1.35 billion years ago
I should be sequenced because...: I have many adaptations and can survive in very harsh environments. My genes can be used to make food crops more hardy to feed the world.
My latin name Onopordum acanthium comes from the ancient Greek:
Onos – meaning donkey or ass
Pordum – meaning fart
and Acanos – meaning thistle (in Latin).
This is because people think that donkeys fart more if they eat me. The artichoke is one of my close cousins and apparently has this same effect on humans!
Why did Scotland choose me to be it’s national emblem? Well, the legend is that a long time ago some Vikings were trying to creep up on some Scottish clansmen and, to make sure that the Scotsmen didn’t hear them coming, they removed their shoes. One of the Vikings trod on a thistle and let out a shout of pain. The Scotsmen heard the shout and were able to prepare for battle. They were saved by a thistle.
I might be able to help cure cancer! Scientists have found that by mashing up my leaves they can extract compounds that can kill cancer cells.
Another cool fact about me is that I have a ‘secret’ society named after me:
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
Noble knights and ladies can be asked by the Queen to join the society if she thinks they are worthy. The motto of the society is…
“Nemo me impune lacessit”
That means ‘no one attacks me within impunity’ – basically I’ll fight back!