Sheep’s-bit Jasione montana
The bright blue round heads of sheep’s-bit are eye-catching amongst the turf on cliff tops and maritime grasslands. Although resembling a scabious, it is in fact a member of the bellflower family.
How to spot it
Small heads of densely packed blue flowers are borne above a rosette of narrow leaves, sometimes with a wavy edge.
Where it grows
Mostly found in coastal grasslands, but may occur inland on heathland, walls and banks. Predominantly found in south-west England, Wales, Cumbria and south-west Scotland.
Best time to see
Flowers from June to August
How's it doing?
Populations in central, eastern and south-eastern England have declined during the last century, possibly due to the loss of lowland heaths and the growth of coarser vegetation following a decline in rabbit grazing.
3 things you might not know
- The flowers are rich in nectar, and therefore attractive to bees and butterflies.
- The plant get its name from the fact that sheep enjoy eating it.
- It is often known as ‘blue buttons’ due to the shape of its flower heads.