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Succisa pratensis - Devil's-bit Scabious

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Dipsacales - Family: Caprifoliaceae

Devil's-bit Scabious

Description

This perennial wildflower grows up to 0.5m in height and has a basal rosette of unlobed lanceolate leaves. The leaves are green and often carry purplish blotches. Its blue-mauve (occasionally pink) flowers grow in densely-packed compound heads 2 to 3 cm across. Individual florets are four sided and deeply funnelled.

Distribution

Devil's-bit Scabious is widespread and common throughout the UK and Ireland; it occurs also in western and central mainland Europe, and its range extends eastwards into parts of Asia.

Habitat

This member of the Honeysuckle family has a preference for damp places; it is frequently found in wet meadows and near rivers and streams.

Devil's-bit Scabious plant

Blooming times

Flowering occurs from June to October.

Uses

Succisa pratensis is the foodplant of caterpillars of Euphydryas aurinia, the Marsh Fritillary butterfly.

Similar species

Devil's-bit Scabious is usually a little taller and has much rounder flower heads than Sheep's-bit Jasione montana, with which it is often confused. Sheep's-bit (sometimes referred to as Sheep's-bit Scabious) is a member of the bellflower family Campanulaceae.

The pictures shown on this page were taken in Wales in July and August.


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