Scott Clan Badge - Blaeberry

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According to George Way of Plean, Secretary to the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, the adoption of a plant badge would have been more to do with a commemoration of a battle success, or an indigenously grown plant, rather than anything to do with a clan's identification in battle.

 

No clansmen would have entered battles with distinguishing emblems such a the Scott's sprig of blaeberry ( not least for the fact that many of the Border clans frequently changed sides in various local conflicts to suit their own ends). It could, however, have been worn as a field badge, or sign, purely on that day (of battle), similarly like a code-word would have been used, for possibly that particular Scott encounter.

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Bonnet badges were often worn by clansmen with a plant sprig worn behind, if so desired. The blaeberry may also be worn pinned to your dress or jacket in a show of allegiance to your clan.

 

Vaccinium Myrtillus, the blaeberry (a Scot's form of bilberry) was most abundant in woods up to 1200m, often forming dominant zones beyond the heather line. Most commonly growing on high moorlands and, after heather, the most common plant, its fruit being a delicious black berry, the Scott's adoption of it as their plant badge could have arisen from its prevalence on the Ettrick Forest moorland. The blaeberry apparently derived its name from the old Norse word for dark blue, being 'blaa'.

 

It is called the bilberry in England. In the United States it is called a whortleberry or dwarf huckleberry. It is also referred to as a variety of European blueberry.

 

Known for its high content of antioxidants and other compounds, the blaeberry has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years, in addition to pies, tarts, jams, jellies, and syrup. Due its intense rich colour, the blaeberry has been used as a dye for centuries.