Greater Knapweed - Centaurea scabiosa


Medium to tall robust somewhat bristly plant to 1.5 metres. Stems erect, branched above. Leaves usually pinnately lobed with oblong or linear segments. Flowerheads purple, large 30 to 50 mm the outer florets much longer than the inner.

Similar Species

Centaurea nigra

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Leaves pinnately lobed; outer florets longer than inner 


Rough grassy habitats, scrub and roadsides on dry calcareous soils.

When to see it

Late June to September.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread but local in England, scarcer or more coastal elsewhere in Britain.

VC55 Status

Occasional. Mainly found in the north east of Leicestershire and in parts of Rutland with most other VC55 records coming from railway verges. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 26 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map