Field Scabious

Knautia arvensis

Field scabious (Knautia arvensis) is a perennial plant that competes with forage and pasture land, and is also found along roadsides at mid-elevations of the province. Once established, is very difficult to eradicate. Field scabious is considered regionally noxious under the BC Weed Control Act, and is found in the Bulkley-Nechako, Kootenay-Boundary, and Thompson-Nicola regions.

Field scabious is an escaped ornamental known for attracting butterflies. Plants are sturdy with a well-formed taproot and long leafless stalks that form large violet to pink, clover-like flowers. Stems are upright and hairy with coarsely toothed, feather-shaped leaves. 

Most seeds fall from the plants (a single plant can produce up to 2,000 seeds), but others can be spread by birds and human activities.

A few native and ornamental alternatives to plant instead of field scabious include: Columbines; Common Harebell; Masterwort; Hybrid Yarrow; and Bee Balm. Read more about these alternatives in the Grow Me Instead booklet for BC.

Gallery: Field Scabious

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