Field Scabious - Knautia arvensis


Medium to tall, hairy plant, often stoloniferous, with a basal leaf rosette. Stems usually with purple spots. Leaves pinnately lobed, the lower stalked the upper sometimes undivided. Flowers bluish lilac or mauve.

Similar Species

Devil's bit Scabious and Small Scabious

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Corolla is 4-lobed (Small Scabious is 5-lobed) and the outer flowers are much longer than inner.  Lower leaves simple/crenate; upper leaves pinnate, with intermediates between. 

Recording advice

A photograph of the flower and upper/lower leaves


Meadows and hedgebanks.

When to see it

July to September.

Life History

Perennial or biennial.

UK Status

Fairly frequent throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland though possibly declining. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 62 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map