Friday, August 28, 2009
This glorious native plant is used by the Cherokee to make darts for blow guns. The guns are made from a 6 to 8 foot piece of river cane which is hollowed out (It's hollow except at the joints like bamboo) and the darts are made from a sharpened stick with thistle down tied at the back end as a stabilizer. Traditionally, the blow guns were used to hunt RABBIT! Sadly, these days the guns seem to be used mostly in annual gatherings in marksmanship contests.
This native plant is not nearly as nasty as the Bull Thistle which came here from Europe and has much sharper, longer prickles and wavier leaves and, frankly, has never served so noble a purpose as the Tall Thistle.