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UK Nature  > Wild Flowers  > Red & Pink Wild Flowers  > Centaurea scabiosa




Scientific Name:   Centaurea scabiosa
Common Name:   Greater Knapweed

Centaurea scabiosa, more commonly known as Greater Knapweed, is a thistle-like plant (it actually belongs in the sunflower family) that can be found on chalk downlands, roadside verges, woodland rides, hedgerows and clifftops. It is more restricted in its distribution than its close relative, Common knapweed, being found mainly in England on chalky soils. It is in bloom from June to September and is a huge favourite of all kinds of butterflies, including Common blues, Marbled whites and Meadow browns.

The large, bright pink-purple 'flowers' of Greater Kanpweed are actually composite flower heads made up of many small 'florets' (tiny flowers). The large, ragged, star-like ones sit around the edge of the flower head and are sterile, serving only to attract insects; while the smaller, densely packed florets in the middle are fertile. It commonly grows throughout the UK and Ireland, although more prominently in England.










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