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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

10 November, 2016

Field Scabious: the gypsy rose

If you are familiar with the wild teasel then I think you will understand why I find it hard to believe that field scabious (Knautia arvensis) is a member of the same family! They seem to have nothing in common at all and when you read the characteristics of plants in the dipsacaceae family you will find that the characteristics are in minute details.
The field scabious is an attractive, almost daisy-like, flower. The flower petals are blue but the anthers are pink which can make the flower overall look a little purple in hue. The leaves are pointed and have 'teeth' along the edges. There is a single pair of leaves formed opposite each other on the main stem and from the point where the leaves form the stem then branches into several flower heads. The field guide suggests that it can grow to a metre tall but in my experience a foot to eighteen inches would seem the norm.
Flowering from June through until October the field scabious does not grow in fields as such but is very much a species of chalk grassland. 
Species of scabious were used to treat sores and skin infections and are especially noted as a treatment to ease the symptoms of the bubonic plague. It is also known by its country name, the gypsy rose.
Field Scabious: the gypsy rose