flowerhead similar to Scabious. The stalk is branched, sturdy, softly hairy, with dark red patches. It grows in damp meadows or ditches.
It was a much-used herb from the Middle Ages until the 1900’s. In folklore the plant was given the name ‘Devil’s bit’ referring to the shape of the root: it ends abruptly as though bitten off. It used to be called Scabiosa succisa, the word succisa meaning bitten off or cut off.
The leaves were once used to dye wool the colour green.
Flowers purplish or pink with pink anthersupper fertile part of the stamen containing the pollen in rounded heads, 15-25 mm. Narrow pointed green bracts.
Elliptic oval leaf, Lanceolate leaf is lance-shaped: long and widest in the middle. Basal leaves: oval to long, pointed, entire, to 30 cm.
Stem leaves: long, pointed, opposite.
Achene: a cluster of 1-seeded fruit.
Roots: once used to treat scabies and other skin problems; also external wounds, ringworm, thrush and intestinal worms.