Species: Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)

Family: Scabiouses (CAPRIFOLIACEAE)

Category: Flowering Plants

Location: SE

A. Flowering Plants

More extensive information on flowering plants can be found in a separate blog post.


The Field Scabious is related to a huge number of shrubs, vines and ornamental garden plants, such as teasels, valerians and honeysuckles. They grow mostly in temperate regions. Some authorities group them as members of the Teasel subfamily.

C. Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)

The Field Scabious is a perennial that can grow up to 150 cm. It flowers between June and September with a single, dense, flat, lilac-coloured flower head on each hairy stem. It prefers dry calcareous soils and can be found throughout the British Isles except for northern Scotland. Field Scabious is often seen with a bumblebee or butterfly perched on top, so is a good source of food for pollinators. Scabious was used to treat scabies, a contagious skin infection, as well as sores caused by the bubonic plague. Its name is derived from the Latin word scabere, meaning a "scratch", which is also related to the word "scab", the crusty blood covering formed by a bad break in the skin.

This plant food is favoured by Red-tailed Bumblebees.

Field Scabious is classed as having a "Red List GB Post 2001 NT (near-threatened)" conservation status.


Field Scabious

Field Scabious flowers between June and September with a single, dense, lilac-coloured flower head on each tall stem.

Field Scabious

Field Scabious with White-tailed Bumblebee (in defensive posture).

Field Scabious

The leaves and stem of Field Scabious are distinctly hairy.