Information on Greater Knapweed

Common Name: Greater Knapweed
Scientific Name: Centaurea scabiosa
Irish Name: Mínscoth mhór
Family Group: Asteraceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Greater Knapweed is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Such a handsome perennial, not as widespread as its small cousin, Common Knapweed, but worth looking out for on dry banks and pastures where it can reach a height of 1 metre.  Its 3-5cm flowerheads are made up of reddish-purple disc florets with the outer, sterile, florets seeming to be rayed in lovely feathery petals.  Below the disc florets is a swollen tube which is coated with brown, bristly bracts.  The grey-green lower leaves are deeply pinnate, the upper having short basal lobes.  This plant grows chiefly on lime and flowers from June to September.  It is a native plant and belongs to the family Asteraceae. 

I first found this elegant plant at Bishop's Quarter Beach in the Burren in 1981 and I photographed it there in 2002.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Knapweed, Greater
Knapweed, Greater

This species is classed as NEAR THREATENED in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016.

The butterfly which was photographed feeding on Greater Knapweed in the Burren is a Silver-washed Fritillary, the largest of the fritillaries found in Ireland.