Small Scabious

Scabiosa columbaria

Late June to October

Small scabious can be found on the commons for a long period of time, and well into September and sometimes October. Despite being called small, they rise out of the grass on tall, wispy stems and grow in abundance. It struck me that the provide late colour and sources of nectar when many other flowers have gone to their seedhead stages. They are particularly beautiful on Farthing Downs in the weeks before the chalk grasses are cut.

The flower heads are very interesting when viewed close up, with many individual, tiny flowers (called florets) making up the disc shape. I enjoyed observing these under the microscope.

The seed heads are also fascinating in structure and gradually change from quite a bright green to  brown. The individual fruits making up the seed head appear to have black hairs protruding from them which are actually remaining parts of the base of the florets.