Small Scabious

Small Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria)

This native slender erect perennial is locally common on well-drained calcareous grasslands and is therefore well-suited to a chalk downland site such as that of Bepton Down. It is found up to an altitude of 600m. It will grow to 70 cm and flowers on branching stems.

It produces a rosette of basal leaves which are pinnately lobed. The stem leaves are narrow lobed and deeply pinnated. The bluish lilac flowers form compact heads which are larger on the outer than the inner. These can be up to 3.5cm across and will flower continuously from July until September. The resulting fruits are dry and papery.

Butterflies love these flowers.
Butterflies love these flowers.
These beautiful flowers were once abundant on Bepton Down.  They are still present and are highly prized by all types of insects.
These beautiful flowers were once abundant on Bepton Down. They are still present and are highly prized by all types of insects.