The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Devil's Bit Scabious
Succisa pratensis is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.40 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Europe, including Britain, south and east from Norway to N. Africa, Siberia and the Caucasus.
Meadows, pastures, marshes, fens and damp woods[
] on slightly acid or calcareous soils[
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[
], preferring damp conditions[
], in sun or semi-shade[
]. Prefers a moist peaty soil[
Hardy to about -20°c[
Grows well in the summer meadow[
], it is an excellent bee and butterfly plant and a food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species[
Young shoots - raw[
]. The tender young shoots are sometimes added to spring salads[
The herb is anthelmintic, demulcent, depurative, slightly diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, mildly expectorant, febrifuge and stomachic[
]. It makes a useful tea for the treatment of coughs, fevers and internal inflammations and is also a popular application externally to eczema and other cutaneous eruptions[
]. A tincture of the plant is a gentle but reliable treatment for bruises, aiding quick re-absorption of the blood pigment[
]. The whole herb is collected in early autumn and dried for later use[
Good results have been achieved by using a distilled water from the plant as an eye lotion to treat conjunctivitis[
A green dye is obtained from the leaves[
Seed - sow mid spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually rapid, but the seedlings are prone to damp off so make sure they are well ventilated[
]. Prick them out into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring. Plant them straight out into their permanent positions.