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Plant Profile: Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa stellata)

Also called starflower and drumstick scabiosa, this annual is native to southwestern Europe and North Africa and is a member of the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, that also includes weigelia, Centranthus, and valerian.  Plants grow 1-3′ tall and have branched stems covered  bearing alternate lyrate leaves with long terminal lobe.  Both stems and leaves are covered with short hairs.  In summer rounded heads of flowers appear that are pale mauve to off white and give way to very attractive  tan-bronze  seedheads that look like pleated cups with  starry centers.  The flowers and seedheads are valued for arrangements.  The genus name, Scabiosa, comes from the Latin word scabies meaning itch and refers to the leaves that were thought to cure scurvy.  The specific epithet, stellata, is from the Latin word stella meaning star and refers to the star-like structures in the seedpods.Type: Annual

Bloom: Globe-like heads of pale mauve to off white flowers in summer

Size: 1.5-3′ H x 1-1.5′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Not relevant

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed

Companion Plants: Statice, strawflower, love in a mist

Outstanding Selections:

‘Drumstick’ (2.5′ H, light blue flowers)

‘Ping Pong’ (small white flowers that form seed head with touch of maroon)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia-