Here at Q Gardens we understand that sometimes you find things that are really a thorn on your side! One of the thorns on our side day to day are just that! Thorns! Thorns are nasty little things that attach themselves onto the stems and leaves of plants and they can really, really hurt. I think every professional and amateur gardener has been stung by a thorn before and they will all tell you the same thing. It was both their faults, and it hurt a lot. The thing is, I usually don’t mind thorns if I can keep them out of my way but the one thing I do hate is how much they hurt animals! Often if you are in the vets you will see that dogs and cats alike are there because they stepped on a thorn that hurts them enough for their owners to really worry about, or even the worry that they might become infected or are poisonous! Often this really isn’t the cast but the fact that people can and often are worried about these things is the proof enough that thorns are and will always be in our sides!
One of the interesting things about thorns are why they actually exist. It is just another branch of evolution that is working through the world in thousands and millions of years. Thorns exist because the plant needed a natural and organic defence system to protect themselves against animals. Often animals of all kinds used to eat these specific plants and over the years they had to learn how to deter animals to eat them once again. That is why in botanical terms, thorns had to derive themselves from the shoots of plants. That is also why thorns are able to be anywhere within or on the plant itself, from the stem of the plant to the leaves. There are many technical and scientific names for the thorn types and the plants that they are on, and a lot of them are often confusing Latin, so I’m not going to bother with that.
Thorn on our sides!!
The original theory behind the evolution of thorns is that the little tiny thorny structures had originally evolved as a defence mechanism. This much is obvious, but the more theoretical and overall interesting theory is that the plants that grew in sandy environments that did not have adequate resources for survival for the fast restoration and regeneration of damages. In short, the plants that had the least access to rain, water or any other resources that they need to thrive are the plants to have evolved thorns first. It is an interesting theory but the main issue I have is that even in the wettest parts of Scotland where the soil is strong, the water is often and animals are abundant, there are still thorny plants. I suppose it could mean that the opposite is true, and the regular eating of plants due to the constant resources (and more specifically, herbivores) had just enticed the plants to be eaten every day. I suppose we will sadly never know for sure, but I often hope that we will find out one day!
I hope you enjoyed today’s post! We often hate thorns but I think the story behind them is quite fascinating. Also please check out our post on Kew Gardens! It is a wonderful place to visit!