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Thistle-chaser, a favorite from the Ratha series, is scrappy and stubborn, which can either work for or against her. As a cub, she gets her name from her relentless pursuit of certain prickly plants, even after suffering their thorns in her paw while batting at them in play.
In the Ratha graphic novel, set in early Miocene Northern California, we've based the plants and animals on existing species or fossils. In the scenes where Thistle earns her moniker, we wanted a native California thistle.
Many thistle species here are invaders, and have crowded out natives. However we do have representatives of the indigenous North American thistle genus Cirsium, and we sought one that met certain requirements.
Thistle's thistle needed to grow in the Eastern San Francisco Bay Area (the western portion wasn't even here during Ratha's time!). Ideally it would grow in marshy areas, and be tall and prickly enough to