Scabiosa columbaria L.

Variable biennial or perennial herb to about 0.5 m tall. Basal leaves more or less oblanceolate to lyrate, entire or dissected, sometimes hairy. Stem leaves pinnately lobed or cut. Flower heads about 4 cm wide but variable, purplish to blue.

Asia, Africa, Europe

Many garden variants exist under this name. Some of these are probably referrable to S. columbaria var. anthemifolia hort., now S. anthemifolia Ecklon. & Zeyh., from S Africa; it has hairy, toothed, ovate-spathulate leaves and flower heads generally pale lilac and about 6 cm wide.

var. ochroleuca L. Flowers yellow, in large heads mostly 2-3 cm wide. Often listed as C. ochroleuca L.


S. lucida Vill. from C Europe is rather similar but has ridged calyx bristles.

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Dipsacaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue'

Plant Varieties Journal   6(4)53

Scabiosa columbaria 'Pink Mist'

Plant Varieties Journal 6(4)53

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Asteranae
order      Dipsacales
family       Dipsacaceae
genus        Scabiosa L.