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Celtic Wildflowers

DIPSACACEAE

DEVIL'S-BIT SCABIOUS Succisa pratensis

Devil's-bit Scabious is a native perennial growing 30-60 cm in height and produces spherical composite clusters of purpley-blue flowers from August to October. The flowers attract a wide range of autumn insects and the vegetative parts of the plants host a diverse range of scarce and threatened species, including the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, a European Protected Species for which the UK has a responsibility for safeguarding.

Wildlife Value Rating
ProvenanceVC41 Glamorgan (Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf & Swansea)
Grovesend, Swansea
Garn Ganol, Carmarthenshire (R.D. Pryce)
Fairwood Common, Gower
growing with Goldenrod, Crymlyn Burrows, Neath Port Talbot
Habitats and Growing AdviceGrows in a wide range of moist to moderately free-draining habitats, generally avoiding water-logged ground and favouring mildly acidic soils. It is a feature of Rhos pastures, but also occurs in woodland rides, stream sides, road verges, graveyards, wet heath, coastal grasslands and mires. The species benefits from moderate to heavy grazing, especially where there is poaching. The species has very poor powers of dispersal and rarely colonises reseeded pastures.
AssociationsThe 'Biological Records Centre’s' website lists the following numbers of foodplant associates for Devil's-bit Scabious: beetles (4), flies (4), true bugs (2), sawflies, wasps and bees (1) moths (12). Of the 23 species of insect list whose larvae feed on Devil's-bit Scabious (NB additional species have been recorded by the author), several are nationally imporatnce. Moths and butterflies are the most significant group, with the Marsh Fritillary Eurodryas aurinia being the most well known species linked with the foodplant; the UK populations are an important element of this European Protected Species. The abundance of flowers produced in late summer and autumn attract an even wider range of pollinators and stands can support substantial invertebrate communities, with hoverflies being one of the more conspicuous groups, both in terms of numbers and diversity.
Marsh Fritillary, Fairwood Common, Gower
Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth larva, Pengwern Common, Gower
Abia sericea (a sawfly) Skanda Vale, carmarthenshire
Sericomyia silentis, Fairwood Common, Gower
Stocklists for habitats