SMALL SCABIOUS

Scabiosa columbaria

Teasel Family [Dipsacaceae]  

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept month8Oct

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8azure
inner
inner8white
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ4
type
typeZclustered
stem
stem8round

27th July 2005, Attermire, Near Settle. Photo: © RWD
The bracts beneath the flower are much thinner than any other Scabious, such as the similar Field Scabious, which moreover are not in two rows as they are in Field Scabious but rather in a single row (bottom left flower).


27th July 2005, Attermire, Near Settle. Photo: © RWD
The flowers all have 5 petals (rather than the four of Field Scabious). Outer flowers have grossly un-equal petals, those at the periphery slightly larger than the two either side, with the obscured two on the inner being smaller still. The inner florets are much smaller, tubular and symmetrical.


28th June 2005, Great Orme, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Deep Purple T-bar anthers. Styles curvy, thin and white.


27th July 2005, Attermire, Near Settle. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Field Scabious, the sepal bracts behind the flower are very narrow.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
A specimen with much fewer flowers in the head. Outer petal is deeply cut and much longer than the other petals. This specimen seems to lack the much smaller symmetrical inner florets.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
The inner two petals are smaller than the other three.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
Flowers and their fruits in various stages.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
Leaves much finer on the upper stem. It grows from 15 to 70cm high, quite a large range.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
A recently formed fruit still greenish.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
A more mature fruit. Unlike the fruits of other Scabious flowers these have a thin white skirt surrounding the top of the fruit. In the centre of the saucer-shaped skirt are five (rather than the nominal 10 of Field Scabious [which lacks a saucer-shaped skirt]).


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
The 5 'eyelashes' are proportionally much longer than the 10 on Field Scabious and far longer still than the 4-5 on Devil's-bit Scabious. (The 'false eyelashes' on Giant Scabious are white, numerous and more like hairs).


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
The basal leaves are of two types, one above the other. The upper layer seen best here is in the form of a rosette of 2-pinnately-lobed leaves which have a long oblong terminal lobe. Your lower basal leaves are spoon-shaped, toothed and long-stalked.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
The leaves and plant are sparsely hairy.


15th Aug 2016, north Marine Drive, Great Orme, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
Your Author thinks that this leaf in the centre, which is sticking up and is both toothed and spoon-shaped, is one of the lower type of basal leaves.


Easily confused with : Field Scabious

Delineating Features between Small and Field Scabious : In Field Scabious the green sepal-like bracts immediately behind the flower head are in two rows (or so one book says, but if you look-see yourself, you will see that there are not two rows, but at least 4!! - so whoever is right, if anyone is wrong, is yet to be seen), the two sets of rows being of un-equal size. From above the flower, the bracts appear alternate in size. Also, whereas in Small Scabious, the number of petals in an individual floret is five, the number of petals in Field Scabious is only four.

Small Scabious is also the shorter of the two. The stem is also less hairy than Field Scabious

Distinguishing Feature: Both Field Scabious and Small Scabious have a single flower head on the end of a long stalk which is lilac/steel blue in colour, with the individual florets clustered together in a compact head, but where the outer petals are much larger than the in-ward facing petals.

Note that Small Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria), Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis), Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) and Giant Scabious (Cephalaria gigantea) all belong in differing genera (although all four reside in the same Dipsaacaceae family).

It grows on un-improved (no nutrients or fertilisers ever applied) permanent grassland over poor dry and chalky soils. Thus the main areas are Derbyshire, Yorkshire Dales, parts of North Wales, and a large swathe from Somerset with three arms; one to Norfolk and Lincolnshire, One to Kent and the third down to Hampshire. Scattered elsewhere mainly avoiding the West.


  Scabiosa columbaria  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Dipsacaceae  

Distribution
family8Teasel family8Dipsacaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Scabiosa
Scabiosa
(Scabiouses)

SMALL SCABIOUS

Scabiosa columbaria

Teasel Family [Dipsacaceae]  

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