Information on Devil's-Bit Scabious

Common Name: Devil's-Bit Scabious
Scientific Name: Succisa pratensis
Irish Name: Odhrach bhallach
Family Group: Dipsacaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Devil's-Bit Scabious could sometimes be confused with:

Scabious, Field, Sheep's-bit,

Abundant in marshes, pastures, and hedgerows, this little plant is quite unfussy about where it grows and even brightens up many a bog when it flowers from June to October.  It's a medium sized perennial with untoothed, deep green, blotchy, oval shaped leaves.  Its pretty hemispherical flowerheads are blue-violet, 25mm across with prominent magenta anthers and on long slender stalks.  This is a native plant belonging to the family Dipsaceae.       

I first identified this plant in Rath, Co Kerry in 1977 and photographed it in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 2006. 

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

Scabious, Devil's-Bit
Scabious, Devil's-Bit

The story goes that this plant got its name due to the fact that it has an abruptly truncated, short root and the explanation for this was that the devil bit it off in a fit of annoyance at the medicinal properties of the plant. This wildflower is the main larval foodplant of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly.