May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~ an Irish blessing, to be sure, to be sure, to be sure
Perhaps it would be easier to ask ‘What’s not on the scabious?’ because it seems that almost every type of fly, bee, butterfly and beetle loves this plant, though that may also be because the Devil’s-bit scabious flowers in late summer – early autumn, when most wildflowers have finished flowering, and so it provides a last delicious taste of summer’s sweetness.
There are several species of scabious – and I love them all – but the scabious I’m seeing most in my local nature reserves is the Devil’s-bit (Succisa pratensis).
Apparently, the scabious name is due to the rough stalks of these plants and dates to times past when scabious was used to treat scabies because people believed in the ‘signature of all things’ – not Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book but that of Jakob Böhme, who presented the idea, in 1622, that God had imprinted prescriptions for human ailments in the shapes and forms of medicinal plants – thus, rough stalk = rough skin. The ‘Devil’s-bit’ comes from the fact that this plant’s roots have a short, bitten off look.
Massed displays of Devil’s-bit scabious lend a purplish tinge to the landscape but it’s the flowers I love best. They begin as fairies’ pincushions and bloom into luscious globular gloriousness.
It’s Friday! It’s Floral Friday! It must be time for more wildflowers. Here’s the latest selection from my wanderings around parks, meadows and reserves:
Creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), Devil’s-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis), Dock (Rumex sp), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Narrow-leaved everlasting pea (Lathyrus sylvestris), Ragged robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata), Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium), Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica) and Tall Melilot (Melilotus altissimus).