Tall perennial with delicate pink flowers. An excellent plant that is resistant to summer drought, extensive mowing, and moderate trampling. Field scabious is one of the few plants that nectarise during water shortages. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
€4,50 – €19,50
Polish name: field scabies-healer
Latin name: Knautia arvensis
Family: honeysuckle family Caprifoliaceae
Status in Poland: common, native plant
Field scabious is a medium-height perennial.
The stems of this plant are alternate distichous foliaged, upright but strongly branched and strongly tomentosed.
The entire specimen is overgrown with protruding hairs, causing persons sensitive to it itching, and giving some specimens a grayish shade of green.
The leaves are quite variable, usually pinnatisect, with the lower leaves much wider than the upper ones, always devoid of stipules. They are characterized by a rather specific matte gray-green color due to strong hairiness.
The flowers are usually pink or light purple, less often creamy white, bluish, or reddish, with the marginal flowers of the head being larger than the central ones. The average, semicircular head consists of a stellate, tomentosed involucre, and about 30-50 flowers. Scabious inflorescences tend to be bisexual.
Fruit in the form of a dry, non-cracking achene or nut, depending on the classification key. It is additionally protected by durable remains of the calyx.
Field scabious copes best in light places, with loose or clay soils, rather rich in calcium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. As befits the species of forest margins, and loose shrubs, it tolerates partial shade. Withstands summer droughts, extensive mowing, and moderate trampling.
A wonderful species for butterfly gardens, bee pastures, flower margins in orchards, and city meadows.
Field scabious has an interesting double among orchids: the globe orchid Traunsteiner globosa. . While field scabious provide a lot of valuable food for pollinators, the globe orchid, pretending to be scabious or devil’s-bit, attracts the same insects (butterflies, bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees, especially sweat bees, leafcutting bees, and miner bees), without offering them nectar or pollen in exchange for their work.
Thick, active-ingredient-rich roots and rhizomes of K. arvensis used to be used in folk medicine. They are not used today.
Due to its original beauty, the field scabious has been used at least twice on the stamps of the Polish Post.
It belongs to the valuable summer and early autumn forages, it provides both pollen, and large amounts of nectar. Beekeepers appreciate it for nectarising even during long droughts, which is rare among plants.
Its pollen is – next to the pollen of small scabious – the only food of a certain solitary bee, called the Andrena hattorfiana.