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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Plant of the Week: Scabiosa caucasica

Botanical name:  Scabiosa caucasica
Common name:  pincushion flower
Family name:  Dipsacaceae

Don’t you just love this week’s plant of the week?  The word scabiosa got my attention while flicking through a seed catalogue last year.  Sounded a lot like Scabies to me (that contagious skin infection that makes you want to rip your skin off, yes the same infection a flatmate passed round when I was a teenager).  In fact it is Latin for itch and was once considered a remedy for skin diseases.  All that gross stuff aside, this perennial is so beautiful.  Its common name ‘Pincushion’ is right on the money. The flower has a dome of stamens, which make it look like a pincushion. I really like the jagged foliage too, gives a bit more visual texture to the garden.  I grew them from seed (again on my living room table) just short of a year ago, and they have just finished flowering in the past week.  If you are not keen on growing from seed, they are available at Kings Plant Barn at the moment.  If you propagate them from seed now, they will be all ready for planting out in spring.  Kings Seeds have a number of varieties available (the one in the photo is from my garden, Scabiosa caucasica). Scabiosa can grow up to 90cm high so you may need to plant them next to something supportive to keep the flowers off the ground.

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