University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - January 2000

Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue'

(skab-ee-o sa)

Common name: Pincushion Flower 

Family: Dipsacaceae (say that one three times fast!), Teasel

Height x Width: 10-24 x 18-24

Growth Rate: moderate

Foliage: opposite, oblanceolate basal leaves differ from stem leaves and from the lanceolate leaves of caucasica; also hairier than latter species

Flowers: 2-3 across, resemble a pincushion, may come in lavender, pink, purple, maroon, red, yellow, white, or lavender-blue as in this cultivar.

Hardiness: zones 3-7

Soil: fertile, well drained, with a pH near neutral.

Light: full sun

Pests & Problems: none serious except the occasional slug.

Landscape Habit, Uses: massed in the border, cut flowers, wild gardens and dry meadow habitats.

Other Interest: species is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa; name from the Latin scabies or itch, for the disease the common species was thought to cure; may serve as a nectar source for some butterflies and food source for some caterpillars; Perennial Plant of the Year 2000

Other Culture: prefers cool, humid climates; often is slow growing.

Propagation: seed is the best method, division may be done, but is a slow method.

Sources: many mail order and local garden centers or nurseries, and online catalogs as well.

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