Field widow flower – meadow scabiosis (Knautia arvensis)
The field widow’s flower is a perennial, herbaceous plant and grows to about 25 – 75cm high.
The leaf blade of the basal leaves is mostly undivided, the stem leaves are divided opposite and pinnate. The numerous flowers are grouped in heads and surrounded by a green sheath. The four petals of the individual flowers have grown together. The flowers are male. This means that the male flower organs ripen before the female ones to prevent self-pollination.
The flowers are very attractive for various visitors. Aries, also known as blood droplets, from the butterfly family, which already indicate their toxicity by their black-red colour, are particularly common. Honey bees are also often found collecting nectar. These bees carry purple instead of the otherwise yellow pollen panties as a peculiarity.
The seeds have so-called elaiosomes. These are protein-rich appendages that ants like to bring into their nests to feed their brood. In this way, ants make a significant contribution to the spread of the plant.
Occurrence of the field widow’s flower
The field widow’s flower is widespread everywhere in Central Europe on nutrient-rich and rather dry meadows, often over calcareous subsoil.
Effect of the field widow’s flower
As a fodder plant, the widow’s flower is completely non-toxic and a welcome change that is often eaten. The herb is also collected as wild vegetables.
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