The desert flora of Palestine is unusually rich in thorns and thistles, containing a whole series of acanthaceous shrubs and various thistles, including Acanthus, Carduus (thistle), Centaurea Calcitrapa (star-thistle), Cirsium acarna, Linn. (horse-thistle), Cnicus benedictus, Linn. (blessed thistle), Cynara Syriaca, Linn. (cardoon), Echinops (globe-thistle), Eryngium nitraria, Noea, Notobasis Syriaca, Linn. (Syrian thistle), Ononis antiquorum, Linn. (tall rest-harrow; var. leiosperma, Post), Onopordon (down-thistle), Phæopappus scoparius, Sieb., Silybum Marianum, Linn. (milk-thistle), Tribulus terrestris, Linn. (land-caltrops), and others, some of them in many subspecies. All these plants were very troublesome to the farmer (Prov. xxiv. 31), who frequently set fire to his fields to get rid of them (Isa. x. 17), while the Prophets threatened the people with a plague of briers and thistles (Isa. v. 6; Jer. xii. 13). The tyrant is compared to the useless bramble (Judges ix. 14); and King Amaziah is likened to the thistle (II Kings xiv. 9). Instead of fruit the earth is to bring forth "thorns and thistles" (Gen. iii. 18), which must, therefore, be edible, and which are considered by the Midrash to be artichokes.
Many names for these plants are found in the Bible as well as in post-Biblical literature. Acanthaceous trees and shrubs, some of them admitting of classification, constitute the first group, which includes: V12p141001.jpg, Bible and Mishnah (also Assyrian, Phenician, and Aramaic) = Lycium Europæum, Linn. (not Rhamnus), box-thorn; V12p141002.jpg, Bible, Mishnah, and Aramaic = Rubus sanctus, Schreb., blackberry; V12p141003.jpg = Acacia; V12p141004.jpg, Mishnah, and V12p141005.jpg, Talmud = Cratægus Azarolus, Linn., hawthorn; V12p141006.jpg, Mishnah, and V12p141007.jpg, Talmud = Zizyphus lotus, Lam., jujube, and Zizyphus spina-Christi, Linn., Christ's-thorn; V12p141008.jpg, Mishnah, and V12p141009.jpg, Talmud =Zizyphus vulgaris, Lam., common jujube.
The second group comprises acanthaceous or prickly herbs, shrubs, and nettles: V12p141010.jpg (?), Bible, V12p141011.jpg, Mishnah, and V12p141012.jpg, Talmud (Assyrian, "egu" [?])= Alhagi Maurorum, DC., alhagi; V12p141013.jpg and V12p141014.jpg, Mishnah, V12p141015.jpg and V12p141016.jpg, Talmud = Carthamus tinctorius, Linn., safflower; V12p141017.jpg, Bible, and V12p141018.jpg, Talmud = Centaurea Calcitrapa, Linn., starthistle; V12p141019.jpg (?), Bible, V12p141020.jpg, Mishnah and Talmud = Echinops spinosus, Linn., or Echinops viscosus, DC., echinops (?); V12p141021.jpg = Eryngium Creticum, Lam., button-snakeroot; V12p141022.jpg = Cynara Scolymus, Linn., artichoke; V12p141023.jpg = Cynara Syriaca, Boiss., and Cynara Cardunculus, Linn., cardoon (the heads of which are well described by Rashi in his commentary on Ps. lxxxiii. 14); V12p141024.jpg = Paliurus aculeatus, Linck., garland-thorn; V12p141025.jpg (?), Bible = Phæopappus scoparius, Sieb., phæopappus; V12p141026.jpg = Solanum coagulans, Forsk., nightshade; V12p141027.jpg (?), Bible, and V12p141028.jpg, Talmud = Urtica urens, Linn., nettle.
General terms, some of them applied also to thorns, are V12p141029.jpg, and V12p141030.jpg in the Bible, and V12p141031.jpg, and V12p141032.jpg in the Mishnah and Talmud.S. I. Lö.