Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #61 Small Scabious

Bradlaugh Fields - Scabiosa columbaria - Scabious flowers

Small Scabious flourishes especially well in the dry, bare stony soil of the Hills and Hollows where the topsoil was scraped away to give wild-flowers a chance against the aggressive grasses that otherwise dominate where there is no grazing or mowing to remove nutrients.

The attractive powder-blue flowers are lightly sweet-scented and a real magnet for butterflies and bees, especially bumblebees. They also give rise to one of the plant’s alternative names: Pincushion flower. The dark green leaves are very finely cut, as shown here, although it may be mistaken for Field Scabious which has very similar-looking flowers but tends to be a more vigorous plant with broader leaves and flowers appearing earlier in the year (May-June, according to Keble Martin, as opposed to Small Scabious which flowers more towards July-August)

Other creatures, whose larvae feed on Small Scabious, include a couple of unusual-looking moths like this one, as well as, if you are very lucky, the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (pdf).

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