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Field Scabious

       

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Field Scabious
Knautia arvensis

Other Names:  Lady's Pincushions, Pins & Needles, Bachelor's Buttons Distribution:  A native British wild flower, which is fairly common throughout Britain.
Habitat:  It thrives on grassland, banks and dry fields & pastures in sunny sites.
Description:  Perennial.  Upright, hairy stems with flowers held on tall stems (25cm to 1m).  The pretty lilac flowers come out from June to September.  The flowers are very similar to the small scabious but generally the plant is much taller.
Folklore:  In early days it was thought to cure scabies and other diseases of the skin like its' relative, small scabious.  It was once thought by herbalists to be a remedy for skin complaints ranging from wounds and sores to dandruff and unwanted freckles!  It has also been grown as a garden plant for many centuries, because of its' pretty lilac flowers.   
Wildlife:  Butterflies and bees are very attracted to the flowers in summer and birds take the seeds as they ripen.  The leaves are the food plant of the Marsh Fritillary and the Narrow Bordered Bee Hawk Moth.
Other Notes:   The name is derived from the Latin word meaning itch.  Sheep and goats eat the plant, but cattle dislike it.

Sowing Instructions for Seeds: All year round, but March to early May or August to September give best results.  Sow seeds in a good quality multi-purpose compost either in a greenhouse, cold frame or outside.  Germination can take from 10 days to 3 months depending on temperature.  The seed germinates in spring in the wild.  When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots. Plant out into final position from late spring onwards.  Planting in autumn will produce slightly earlier flowering than a spring sowing.

Our plants and seeds are of native British origin.