Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)
Field Scabious (knautia arvensis) is a blue wildflower (often appearing lilac in colour) which blooms between July and September. When fully grown, its height measures anywhere between 25 cm and 100 cm, depending on the drainage and nutrition within the soil. Commonly known as ‘lady’s pincushions’ or ‘blue bonnets’ thanks to the flower’s domed appearance, these are a common sight in British fields, chalky land and along the roadside. It is also known as the Gypsy Rose and is a native species to Britain and parts of Europe.
Each flower has a single cylindrical, long, green, stem with lots of fine, short white hairs. The few leaves are to be found at the base of the stems and are also hairy.
The flowers rather resemble marigolds (except for in colour, of course) and have concentric circles of petals that decrease in breadth towards the centre. The outer petals are slightly scooped and towards the middle the petals begin to roll inwards so that they are almost tube-like. Here and there appear the stamen: anther, which are dark purple, atop fine white filaments.
Traditional uses of Field Scabious
Traditionally, the field scabious wildflower was used to treat maladies of the skin including scabies (the Latin name comes from the word ‘scratch’) and itchy rashes. It was particularly popular as a remedy for skin irritations that were often experienced during the bubonic plague.
Field Scabious for wildlife
This is a very popular wildflower amongst our insect friends – it features on the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ list accordingly – and when in bloom, it will attract a wide range of bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths. These pollinators are not only good for continued growth within your garden but are, of course, vital to the ecosystem and bees in particular need all the help they can get just now, as their numbers are in significant decline.
As a vital part of any wildflower meadow, the field scabious features in many of Turfonline’s products as part of their pre-planted turf rolls that can be laid directly onto gardens wherever you have some space. A natural wildflower border looks terrific surrounding a traditional lawn, and looks equally beautiful as a natural feature in a corner of a garden plot.
Meadowmat turf rolls are carefully created to include a wide range of wildflowers that will bloom at different times of the year and at different times of the day, in a variety of colours to maximise the number and variety of insects that will visit. This innovative and easy-to-install idea aims to create areas of natural beauty wherever there is space to do so, to help boost native fauna and provide a lifeline to our ailing bees.