Leaves opposite or whorled. Flowers small, collected into a capitulum surrounded by an involucre of bracts. Calyx-limb cup-shaped, entire or lobed, surrounded by an involucel. Corolla funnel-shaped, 4-5 lobed. Stamens 4. Ovary 1-celled, with 1 pendulous ovule. Style filiform. Stigma capitate. Fruit in-dehiscent, 1-seeded.

A rather small family, spread over the 'ancient world.'

Scabiosa L

Capitulum hemispherical or depressed, outer flowers generally large and rayed. Involucel tubular, 4-5 lobed. Calyx-limb cup-shaped, with 4 or 5 stiff bristles or awns. Corolla 4-5 lobed.

Scabiosa Lucida VILL

Stem 6-12 inches high, simple, erect, terminating in a single rose-violet or deep mauve capitulum, with large ray-florets. Lowermost leaves elongated, stalked, crenate, rather shining; upper ones pinnatifid, with linear-lanceolate segments.

Pastures and stony spots in the Alps; 4500-8000 feet. June to September.


Carpathians, Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Erzgebirge, Vosges, Jura; Pyrenees.

A handsome species and well worth cultivating.

Cephalaria Schrader. Cephalaria Alftina Schrad

A hairy, robust plant, at least a yard high, with an ascending, angular stem and pinnate leaves, with from 9-15 lanceolate leaflets, serrated. Corolla pale yellow in a dense globular head.

Rocky pastures in the Alps and sub-Alps up to 6000 feet; very local. June, July.


Switzerland, Jura, and Western Alps of Savoy, Dauphine, Provence, and Piedmont.

Knautia Coulter Differs from Scabiosa in having the awns of the calyx deciduous.

Knautia Sylvatica Duby

A large, leafy herb, often 3 feet in height, usually hairy, especially at the base. Leaves lanceolate-elliptic or lanceolate, entire or toothed, not divided, glabrous, or furnished with long hairs, but never velvety, bright green. Calyx with 8 teeth. Corolla usually violet, rarely rose-purple, in hemispherical heads. Somewhat polymorphic.

Woods and meadows and shady places in the mountains, extending to the Alpine pastures. June to September.


Central and Southern Europe.

Knautia Longifolia Koch

Plant 1-1 1/2 feet high, glabrous below, with a usually simple stem. Leaves dark green, shining, glabrous, narrowly lanceolate, acuminate, entire or toothed. Flowers rose, in small hemispherical heads. Involucral bracts oval-lanceolate, acute, almost as long as the flowers. Calyx with sub-sessile limb, and linear, pointed teeth.

Meadows and damp mountain pastures. June to September.


Pyrenees, Alps, Jura, Vosges, Auvergne, Cevennes, Central and Southern Europe.