Field scabious is native throughout Europe. It has become naturalized in North America, after escaping
from gardens, becoming overly common to invasive in some midwestern states. It is found along river banks and roadsides, and in meadows, pastures, waste ground, and well-lit forests.
Plants: 12-31" (30-80 cm) tall. Stems branch
near the top, and are densely hairy and green to purplish, often with purple spots.
Leaves: Opposite, on short petioles or none at all,
lanceloate-elliptic, gray-green, with soft hairs. The lowest leaves are up to 1" (3 cm) long.
Stem leaves are pinnately divided, with a large
Flowers: Single flowers atop long stems are
irregular, blue-violet, flattish or rounded, 1-1½" (2.5-3.8 cm) around. Each flower contains 85-100 florets. Florets
near the center are funnel-shaped, with four lobes. Edge florets are larger and more irregular.
Four violet-tipped stamens appear near the center of each flower.
There are 8-12 sepals at the base of each flower.
The calyx beneath the flower is small. Flowers appear June-August.
Fruits: A nutlet ~³/₁₆" (5-6 mm) × ¹/₁₆" (2 mm), thickly
covered in hairs. A single plant produces up to 2000 seeds.
Medical: Flowers and stems are said to have an astringent,
antiseptic, expectorant or purgative effect. None of these effects have been proven.