Devil's-bit Scabious

Succisa pratensis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Devil's-bit Scabious

About

The rounded and nodding, purple-blue flower heads of Devil's-bit Scabious can be found in damp meadows and marshes, and along woodland rides and riverbanks. It is in bloom between July and October, its pincushion-like flower heads attracting a wide variety of butterflies and bees. It is also the foodplant for the declining Marsh Fritillary Butterfly which is classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

How to identify

Devil's-bit Scabious has flattened, rounded flower heads which range in colour from blue to pinky-purple. Its leaves are long and oval, and differ from those of Field Scabious which are dark green, hairy and deeply lobed.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Our native wildflowers, such as Devil's-bit Scabious, provide important links in the food chain for many other animals, including rare species like the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.

Species information

Common name
Devil's-bit Scabious
Latin name
Succisa pratensis
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 75cm
Conservation status
Common.