Scabiosa columbaria is a gorgeous plant with faintly scented blooms. It is also known locally as Jonkmansknoop. The leaves are mostly clustered at the base of the stem. The flowerheads can be up to 30mm in diameter and are presented on long stalks. The flowers can vary in colour from white to mauve / purple. The nectar produced by the flowers, attracts insects, bees and butterflies that act as pollinators.
The Latin word Scabiosa, is derived from the word scabies meaning ‘to scratch’, there was a belief that this species was believed to relieve the itch of skin sores.
Locally, Scabiosa columbaria is also known as Ibheki (Zulu). The leaves and fleshy roots are a traditional colic and heartburn remedy. Powdered roots were also used as baby powder.
This is a widespread species that occurs in Africa, Asia and Europe.