This plant is known only from its present distribution in the North Temperate Zone in Europe, N. Africa, and W. Asia. In Great Britain it is not found in W. Kent, Hunts, Gloucs, Mid Lancs, S.E. Yorks, Cheviotland, E. Lowlands, except in Peebles and Selkirk, and only in Kincardine and Elgin in the E. Highlands. It is not found in Westerness, Mid or N. Ebudes, nor in the W. Highlands, and only in Shetland in the Northern Isles. It is found in Ireland and the Channel Islands.

Sheep's Bit Scabious grows on heaths and moors at a high elevation in rocky districts, cliff sides or quarries, or natural escarpments where the soil is light. It is indeed a rupestral species, or rock plant, occurring where Hawkweeds of various kinds and Wall Lettuce, as well as heaths and ericetal species, grow.

It is a dwarf plant, with suberect stems, branching near the base, and tufted. The leaves are linear-lance-shaped, narrow at the base, wavy or sinuate, curled, crisped, hispid, stiffly hairy, numerous, the radical leaves forming a rosette. The plant may be smooth or roughly downy, with long stiff hairs.

The blue flowers are small, in small heads, terminal, on the smaller branches. The bracts are smooth or hairy, the inner narrower. The petals meet below with narrow lobes. There are 5 anthers, oblong, which meet below at the base, forming a tube, a feature which separates it from the Scabious. The corolla is regular.

The plant may be 1 - 1 1/2 ft. in height. It is in bloom in July. Sheep's Bit Scabious is annual, and propagated by seeds.

Having 100-200 large blue florets, it is attractive to many insects, and the plant is cross-pollinated simultaneously in the case of the main Stigmas. The honey is easily reached by insects, being secreted in the upper part of the ovary. It is fully exposed, and surrounded by the flat limb of the calyx. The corolla is cleft down to the base, where it meets together into 5 narrow linear lobes, so that insects with short proboscis can penetrate the tube. The stamens meet together at the base, forming a ring round the style, and protect the honey from the rain, allowing insects to insert their tongues between the anther-stalks. The hairs are excluded from the base of the flowers by the shrivelled anthers, which point obliquely upwards, and the anther-stalks. Pollination of many flowers by large insects is possible because the flowers are small and crowded, and an insect touches several flowers together. The styles lengthen till they are longer than the corolla lobes, and the flower is proterandrous, the anthers ripening first. Self-pollination is rendered difficult. The style at first bears a brush covered with pollen, and after the pollen and hairs have disappeared displays a 2-lobed stigma. The small size of the florets is counterbalanced by the number of insect visitors. It is visited by some 50 Hymenoptera, 30 Diptera, 30 Lepidoptera, including Hawkmoths, and Beetles.

The capsule is 2-valved at the top, and contains numerous seeds, being aided in dispersal by the wind, the seeds falling out above.

Sheep's Bit Scabious is a sand-loving plant growing on sand soil, and is a rock plant also, growing on granitic and slaty rocks.

A moth, Homoeosoma nimbella, and a Heteropterous insect, Strongy-locoris hiridus, are found upon it.

Jasione, Theophrastus, was a Greek name applied to one of the Campanulas; and the second Latin name indicates its montane habit.

Sheep's Bit Scabious is called Blue Bonnets, Blue Buttons, Blue Daisy, Iron Flower, Sheep's Scabious, Sheep's Bit.

Essential Specific Characters: 186. Jasione montana, L. - Stem short, branched, leaves radical, in a rosette, oblong, hairy, alternate, flowerheads lilac-blue, in a terminal stalked head, anthers united, corolla 5-fid.

Sheep's Bit Scabious (Jasione montana, L.)

Photo. Dr. Somerville Hastings - Sheep's Bit Scabious (Jasione montana, L.)

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia, L.)

The Harebell is known to us as a plant of the Northern Temperate and Arctic Zones, found in Arctic Europe, North Africa, N. Asia, N. America. It is found in every part of Great Britain, except the Orkneys, as far north as the Shetlands, and ascends to 3500 ft. in the Highlands. It is native in Ireland.

The Harebell is the Bluebell of Scotland, and is a typical ericetal plant, indicative of heath or moorland generally. Barren, dry upland tracts are made gay with its delicate bluebell-like flowers in autumn, and it is one of our commonest hill-side wild flowers, growing side by side with Furze, Broom, Heaths, Ling, and Heather.

The leaves are smooth, the radical leaves oblong, kidney-shaped, seen at their best before the plant matures. They are usually coarsely toothed. The stem-leaves are linear-lance-shaped, and entire.

The flowers are blue or rarely white, bell-shaped, on spreading flower-stalks, drooping, and the flower-stalks may be simple or branched. The arrangement of the flowers is racemose, the corolla regular (or almost), and the calyx is 5-fid, the calyx segments linear, awl-shaped, and remain with the fruit. The anther-stalks are swollen below, concealing and protecting the honey. The anthers are quite distinct. There may be 2, 3, or 5 styles.

The plant may be 6-9 in. or 1 ft. high. The blooming of the Harebell takes place between June and August. The plant is perennial, and propagated by division. It is, and ought more generally to be, cultivated.

When the flower opens, the anthers and upper part of the stalks wither, the lower swell and partly cover the honey. The hairs on the pistil are drawn in, and the honey then lies more or less exposed, and is accessible to honey-seeking insects. When the hairs are withdrawn the stigmas open out and are dusted with pollen. If insects do not visit the flower, the stigmas bend over and are dusted with pollen from the anthers.

The flowers are large, blue, bell-shaped, tubular, with 5 lobes, bent back. The anthers are distinct and not united into a tube, the anther-stalks being expanded at the base to form triangular valves, dilated and broad, which protect the honey. The style is club-shaped, divided into 2 or 3 or 5 thread-like stigmatic lobes crowned with hairs. The anthers shed pollen on the stigma before the flower is even open, and are close to the pistil. The honey is abundant, and the plant is much visited by insects, viz. Honey-bee, Bombus, Cilissa, Andrena, Halictus, Halictoides, Chelostoma, Diptera, Bombylidae, Systoechus, Empidae.

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia, L.)

Photo. Flatters & Garnett - Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia, L.)