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Field scabiosa (Knautia arvensis)

Field scabiosa Synonyms: Scabiosa arvensis

Common Names: Blue buttons, meadow widow flower, gypsy's rose

Description: It escaped cultivation in British Columbia from its use as a garden ornamental.

Habit: Herbaceous perennial, erect, hairy and sparsely branched.

Leaves: Hairy; lower leaves are usually coarsely toothed, or sometimes entire, and form a basal rosette. Upper leaves are opposite and deeply, pinnately cut.

Stems: Stiff hairs angled downwards, but are not prickly.

Flowers: Blue to purple in color. Inflorescence is a dense composite of small florets clustered into a domed-shaped head resembling a single flower that occurs singly at the ends of stems. Below the flower head is a ring of narrow green bracts.

Fruit and seeds: Fruit is nut-like, cylindrical, very small and hairy. A single plant can produce up to 2000 seeds.

Habitat: Native to Europe. Found in roadsides, pastures, and meadows.

Reproduction: By seed or vegetatively.

Similar species: Not likely to be confused with other plants. Similar looking plants can be found in the Pincushion family (Scabiosa spp.).

Monitoring and rapid response: Cut or mow plants before seed-set. Pulling is seldom effective due to difficulty in removing the long, branched roots. Tilling and cultivation of other species has been effective in controlling populations. Escort (metsulfuron-methyl) at 20 gr/ha (8.0 gr/acre) provides excellent control and should be applied to actively growing plants up to the early flower bud stage.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the U.S Forest Service Weed of the Week and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Integrated Weed Management.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Field scabiosa

Scientific Name:

Knautia arvensis




Annual, Perennial



USDA Symbol: