I see a thistle...it is punched into the leather of the quarter. It is decoration. As such, it is not a component of the shoe. It is not calf, it is not scotch grain, it is air. Yes, despite mis-identifying the vamp, I knew what you were talking about. But if we all start using made-up and make-believe terminology for parts of the shoe, it won't be long before no one can understand the other person. We'll all be back to grunts and slapping the ground. Or Twitter. Wait... And the truth is that such laziness --the unwillingness to get it right; the impulse to cavalierly impose your own words and definitions on top of an already existing lexicon--is the hallmark of disrespect and arrogance. Yes, it is ignorance to call the toe cap the vamp. It is ignorance to call the quarter a "thistle" just because it has a thistle shape punched into the leather. That or perversity. And, in turn, I am just perverse enough to insist that we respect the maker and the shoe...and each other ...enough to try to use a common lexicon. If only for the sake of the folks here who wouldn't know that not all shoes have a "thistle"...simply because it is not an an identifiable part/component of the shoe. Of course that only applies if we want to have an intelligent conversation. BTW...we are all born ignorant--there is no sin in it. It's the refusal to acknowlege it that pushes a person over the line...into stupidity.