Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Knautia Arvensis, Field Scabious


A native perennial herb of dry, well drained calcareous and neutral grassland. It can be found on chalk and limestone meadow, rough pasture, hedgerows, verges and grassy waste ground. When in flower it attracts large numbers of bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies.

Succeeds in any well-drained soil. Prefers a dry soil. Grows well on chalky soils. Prefers a sunny position.

A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -25°c. Grows well in the summer meadow. The plant is an important source of nectar and pollen for bees and lepidoptera.

Field scabious is a perennial plant that grows between 25 and 100 cm. It prefers grassy places and dry soils, avoiding heavy soils, and flowers between July and September. The flowered head is flatter than similar species Devils bit scabious and Small Scabious.

Sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

If you have enough seed it would be worthwhile trying a sowing in situ outdoors in the spring. The seed germinates in the spring in the wild.

The whole plant is astringent and mildly diuretic. An infusion is used internally as a blood purifier and externally for treating cuts, burns and bruises. The fresh or dried flowering plant can be used, with or without the roots. 


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