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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Campanulids
Ordo: Dipsacales

Familia: Caprifoliaceae
Subfamilia: Dipsacoideae
Tribus: Scabioseae
Genus: Scabiosa
Overview of species

S. achaeta – S. adzharica – S. africana – S. amoena – S. andryalifolia – S. angustiloba – S. buekiana – S. canescens – S. cinerea – S. colchica – S. columbaria – S. comosa – S. correvoniana – S. corsica – S. crinita – S. drakensbergensis – S. esfandiarii – S. fumarioides – S. georgica – S. hladnikiana – S. holosericea – S. hyrcanica – S. imeretica – S. incisa – S. intermedia – S. ispartaca – S. japonica – S. koelzii – S. lacerifolia – S. lucida – S. mairei – S. maslakhensis – S. meskhetica – S. mollissima – S. nitens – S. ochroleuca – S. opaca – S. owerinii – S. paphlagonica – S. parviflora – S. praemontana – S. pyrenaica – S. silenifolia – S. sirnakia – S. sivrihisarica – S. sosnowskyi – S. taygetea – S. tenuis – S. transvaalensis – S. triandra – S. triniifolia – S. turolensis – S. tuzluca – S. tysonii – S. velenovskiana – S. vestina – S. webbiana


Scabiosa L., Sp. Pl. 1: 98 (1753). nom. et typ. cons. (see Taxon 44(4): 611–612 (1995).)

Type species: Scabiosa columbaria L. (see Jarvis, Taxon 41: 569 (1992).)


Asterocephalus Zinn, Cat. Pl. Gott. 381 (1757).

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 98.


Hassler, M. 2019. Scabiosa. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Aug. 15. Reference page.

Vernacular names
беларуская: Скабіёза
català: Escabiosa
Cebuano: Scabiosa
čeština: hlaváč
dansk: Skabiose
Deutsch: Skabiosen
dolnoserbski: Pupawa
English: Pincushion Flowers
Esperanto: Skabiozo
español: Flores del Acerico
فارسی: طوسک
suomi: Törmäkukat
français: Scabieuses
Gaeilge: Scaibeas
hornjoserbsce: Rupač
հայերեն: Քոսքսուկ
Ido: Skabioso
日本語: マツムシソウ属
ქართული: ფოლიო
қазақша: Қотырот
lietuvių: Žvaigždūnė
norsk: Bakkeknappslekta
polski: Driakiew
русский: Скабиоза
slovenčina: hlaváč
српски / srpski: Удовичице / Udovičice
svenska: Fältväddssläktet
Türkçe: Uyuz otu
українська: Скабіоза
中文: 山蘿蔔屬

Scabiosa /skeɪbiˈoʊsə/[1] is a genus in the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) of flowering plants.[2] Many of the species in this genus have common names that include the word scabious, but some plants commonly known as scabious are currently classified in related genera such as Knautia and Succisa; at least some of these were formerly placed in Scabiosa. Another common name for members of this genus is pincushion flowers.


The common name 'scabious' comes from the herb's traditional usage as a folk medicine to treat scabies, an illness that causes a severe itching sensation.

Some species of Scabiosa are annuals, others perennials. Some are herbaceous plants; others have woody rootstocks. The leaves of most species are somewhat hairy and partly divided into lobes, but a few are smooth and some species have simple leaves. The flowers are borne on inflorescences in the form of heads; each head contains many small florets, each floret cupped in a membranous, saucer-shaped bract. The calyx has five sepals in the form of awns almost as long as the petals. After the flowers have dropped, the calyces together with the bracts form a spiky ball that may be the reason for the "pincushion" common name. The calyx is persistent and remains as a crown on the fruit after it is shed. The corolla has four to five lobes fringing a narrow funnel with a furry throat, the funnel being somewhat longer than the lobes. The florets have four stamens each, set high in the tube, and sticking out. Each fruit has just one seed.

In a few species the heads are sessile but in most species they are borne singly on a tall peduncle.

Scabiosa species and varieties differ in the colours of their flowers, but most are soft lavender blue, lilac or creamy white.
Scabiosa atropurpurea subsp. maritima
Pincushion flower -- Scabiosa triandra

Among others:

Scabiosa achaeta
Scabiosa adzharica
Scabiosa africana
Scabiosa albanensis
Scabiosa alexeenkoana
Scabiosa amoena
Scabiosa andryifolia
Scabiosa angustiloba
Scabiosa buekiana
Scabiosa canescens
Scabiosa cinerea
Scabiosa colchica
Scabiosa columbaria
Scabiosa correvoniana
Scabiosa corsica
Scabiosa crinita
Scabiosa drakensbergensis
Scabiosa esfandiarii
Scabiosa fumarioides
Scabiosa galianoi
Scabiosa georgica
Scabiosa hladnikiana
Scabiosa holosericea
Scabiosa hyrcanica
Scabiosa imeretica
Scabiosa incisa
Scabiosa intermedia
Scabiosa koelzii
Scabiosa lucida
Scabiosa mairei
Scabiosa maslakhensis
Scabiosa meskhetica
Scabiosa mollissima
Scabiosa nitens
Scabiosa ochroleuca
Scabiosa opaca
Scabiosa owerinii
Scabiosa paphlagonica
Scabiosa parviflora
Scabiosa praemontana
Scabiosa pyrenaica
Scabiosa silenifolia
Scabiosa solymica
Scabiosa sosnowskyi
Scabiosa taygetea
Scabiosa tenuis
Scabiosa transvaalensis
Scabiosa triandra
Scabiosa triniifolia
Scabiosa turolensis
Scabiosa tysonii
Scabiosa webbiana
Scabiosa velenovskiana
Scabiosa vestina
Scabiosa zuikoensis


Members of this genus are native to Africa, Europe and Asia. Some species of Scabiosa, notably small scabious (S. columbaria) and Mediterranean sweet scabious (S. atropurpurea) have been developed into cultivars for gardeners.

In 1782, a mysterious pale yellow scabious, called Scabiosa trenta, was described by Belsazar Hacquet, an Austrian physician, botanist, and mountaineer, in his work Plantae alpinae Carniolicae. It became a great source of inspiration for later botanists and mountaineers discovering the Julian Alps, especially Julius Kugy. The Austrian botanist Anton Kerner von Marilaun later proved Belsazar Hacquet had not found a new species, but a specimen of the already known submediterranean Cephalaria leucantha.[3]

Scabious flowers are nectar rich and attractive to many insects including butterflies and moths such as the six-spot burnet. Scabiosa species are food plants for the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera such as the grey pug moth.

Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
"Scabiosa", The Plant List (version 1.1), retrieved 2014-09-19
Nada Praprotnik. "Trenta Scabious (Scabiosa Trenta)". Republic of Slovenia: Government Communications Office.

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