Devil’s-bit Scabious – Succisa pratensis

Devil’s-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) is a member of the Honeysukle Family. It can reach a height of 60 cm on an unbranched stem with the upper part branching, the stem itself is sparsely haired.

The flowers are semi spherical and around 2 – 3 cm in diameter which are surrounded by leafy bracts. The leaves are opposite on the stem and each are stalked, with a sharp tip, and a shiny appearance. This plant has often been used to create a dye, used as seasoning, used in tea and even medicinally to treat a range of conditions from weeping wounds to the plague. It is one of summers last flowering species, this is key to helping the insects to prepare for the winter months especially insects such as butterflies, flower flies, beetles and bees.

The flower head is rounded and purple / blue colour and can be found in damp meadows and marshes. The flower head is said to look similar to that of a pincushion and is great at attracting a wide range of bees and butterflies. It is particularly good at attracting the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly which is callsed as a priority species in the uk due to its rapid decline.

Height: 50 -100cm
Flowering Time: July – Oct
Preferred Conditions: Thrives in dry conditions and chalky acidic soil.

Devil's-bit Scabious - Succisa pratensis