by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Scabiosa atropurpurea   (Sweet Scabiosa)

Scabiosa atropurpurea  (CAPRIFOLIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: Aug-2020)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Scabiosa atropurpurea - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Scabiosa atropurpureaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 100 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Scabiosa maritima L.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Caprifoliaceae Juss. (The Honeysuckle Family)
11 species from the Caprifoliaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Sweet Scabiosa

Maltese name(s) :

Skabjoża ħamra

Status for Malta :

Cultivated species. Introduced plants cultivated for agricultural or horticultural purposes but sometimes can be occassionaly found as an escapee close to the site of their original cultivation.

Frequency :

Data not available - casual or short-lived in the wild from accidental garden or agriculture escape

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – July

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Dry places.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Ornamental plant which is not known to have become naturalised in Malta
Botanical Description: Subglabrous or somewhat hirsute biennial. Stem 20-60 cm, branched. Lower leaves oblong-spathulate, entire or lyrate, long-petiolate; middle and upper leaves pinnatifid, with entire or dentate segments. Capitula 20-30 mm in diameter, oblong-ellipsoid in fruit. Involucral bracts narrowly lanceolate, wider towards base, as long as or shorter than florets. Corolla of marginal florets 12-18 mm, slightly longer than the central, lilac to dark purple. Involucel-tube hispid or subglabrous; corona about as long as tube, broadly infundibuliform; calyx-setae c. 3-5 times as long as corona, on long stipe. All fruits with long calyx-setae.
Chromosome number: 2n=16
Distributional range: S. Europe.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE Ag Al Az Bl Bu Ca Co Cr Ct Ga(F M) Gr Hs(S) It Li Lu Ma Md Sa Si(M S) SM Tn Tu(A E) [nAz(C F G J L M P S T) Ca(C H P T) Cy Md(M P)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (9 images)
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-0.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-1.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-2.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-3.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-4.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-5.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-6.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-7.
   Scabiosa atropurpurea   -   Image Code: SCBAP-8.

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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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