This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Dry pastures and banks are the habitat of Purple Scabious. The habit is erect. The rootstock is woody and tufted. The stem is simple or branched above, hairy above, with hairs pointing downwards. The radical leaves are on long stalks, narrow, blunt, scalloped, entire or lobed, with the uppermost lobe larger; the upper stem-leaves are divided nearly to the base, with linear segments. They are usually downy. The florets are 5-lobed, lilac, or lilac-blue, collected into a conspicuous head, the involucel notched, with 8 furrows, the outer corollas larger, irregular. The 4-5 bristles of the calyx do not fall. The fruit has a short beak, and is inversely egg-shaped or rounded. The plant is 1-2 ft. high, flowering between Julyand September, and is a herbaceous perennial.