Scabiosa columbaria, also known as Bitterbos or Wild Scabious, is widespread in South Africa, occurring mostly in grasslands, on rocky slopes and in bushveld habitats. Scabiosa, is derived from the Latin scabies meaning ‘to scratch’ – possibly because the plants were used medicinally to relieve the itch of scabies and skin sores. The flowers attract a number of butterflies and make a beautiful show when growing en masse – it is not always easy to appreciate this effect in the grasslands though!

They are in bloom at the moment and are well worth looking out for.


Gledhill Eily Veldblomme van Oos-Kaapland Cape Nature Conservation (undated).

Manning John Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa Struik Nature 2009.



  1. Good of you to explain about the name. Because of my initial reaction to it in your title, I almost didn’t open the post. Too bad the blossom’s beauty gets lost, whether in nature (the grasslands) or in utility.


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