Devil’s-bit scabious Succisa pratensis

Status Non-native, invasive
Best Time to See June, July, August, September
Colour Blue, Purple
Habitat Grassland, Upland

A tall plant with rounded purple-blue flowers that look like a pincushion.

Devil's-bit scabious is related to the teasel and prefers to grow in damp areas. It is popular with bees, moths and butterflies, especially the vulnerable marsh fritillary.

With its round violet-blue flowers and protruding reddish anthers, devil's-bit scabious is easily mistaken for sheep's-bit.

Distribution

Widespread throughout the UK.

Habitat

Grasslands, especially rocky grassland, hedgerows, meadows, mountain slopes, and stream-banks. It occurs especially on calcareous or slightly acidic soils.

Best time to see

Flowers from June to September.

Did you know?

Some say that the name 'scabious' derives from 'scabies' - one of the many ailments that flowers bearing this name were supposed to help cure. Richard Mabey, however, attributes the name to its rough stalks. Another common vernacular is Bobby bright buttons.

According to one legend, the Devil grew angry about these medicinal properties and tried to get rid of them by biting the roots off. Hence why this wildflower has short and stubby roots and why it is called 'Devil's-bit' scabious.

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