Noun: 1. Sternness or severity of manner or attitude.
2. Extreme plainness and simplicity of style or appearance.
Oh how I do love the second meaning of austerity...
I have always loved thistles. When we planted up our new garden last year, I wanted to have some cultivated forms of this beauty. I would love some from nature itself as I really love the look of the beautiful purple flower among the thorny stems. I am however thrilled with the first of my two types of thistles blooming happily in my garden. Even the little honeybees are happy as they drink the nectar.
"Do not blame the thistle that you see no beauty."
~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie