Floral history of Star Thistle
The star thistle plant, both yellow and purple, is of Mediterranean and European origin, and is considered an invasive species. In California, it is found primarily in the Central Valley and foothills up to an elevation of about 7000 feet, with successful growth typically concentrated in grasslands and oak woodlands. Star Thistle has the ability to create monotypic stands and habitats in areas where the natural ecosystem is disturbed or cultivated. It is a winter annual that relies heavily on abundant seed production and pollination for survival, making it a perfect candidate for honeybees and other pollinators. Honeybees alone may be responsible for up to 57% of seed set, and star thistle plants are considered an important honey source plant in California and other western states. Though the plant itself has no nutritive value for humans, star thistle is used in traditional Turkish medicine for ulcer treatment, and recent laboratory studies have confirmed the anti-ulcerogenic properties of aqueous extracts of fresh or dried flowers.
Floral history of Blackberry
Blackberry plants originated in the temperate climates of North America and Europe, and are particularly prevalent in Eastern North America and along the Pacific coast. Blackberries are perennial plants that grow in rambling brambles covered in sharp prickles (not thorns, though they are often called that!), which produce the familiar berry. Botanically, however, the berry is actually considered an aggregate fruit, composed of small drupelets. Blackberry grows well in woods and scrub, as well as poor soil conditions. The shrub is an excellent nectar producer and is pollinated by honeybees and bumblebees, yielding a dark, fruity honey. There is evidence pointing to human consumption of blackberries for over 2500 years, as forensic evidence from the Iron Age Haraldskær Bog Woman shows traces of the distinctive fruit in her stomach.
Floral history of Clover