Succisa pratensis. Devil’s-bit scabious. Odhrach Bhallach.
Succisa pratensis, Devil’s-bit scabious, Odhrach Bhallach is a Perennial which grows to 60cms. Beautiful purple ball shaped flower heads at the end of tall stems from a basal rosette. Here’s a little video i took in late August 2020 of this plant in action. I hope this isn’t slow to load, we’re experimenting with getting videos online. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated :).
This population originates from Co Down. Irish Grid reference: J600512.
All kinds of insects favour this plant, flowers later from August to September. The larval food plant of the Marsh fritillary butterfly Euphydryas aurinia.
Does well in a meadow once established will spread with a little management, ie. grazing for a few weeks in winter, or a winter cut and lift in December/January.
Sow March/April in trays. Prick out when large enough to handle. Plant out when large enough to cope with the environment you’re putting it into, usually around May. Be careful of drought, water in well and keep watered if it’s dry until the roots get a chance to down and out into the soil.
You can also sow in Aug/Sept, prick out into modules by Oct/Nov and overwintering. Plant out in April. This requires more work and you tend to get less of a germination rate (or mice eat your seeds out of the seed tray if you’re not careful, i’ve watched them do it !).
Has been used in traditional medicine. It has a truncated tap root from where it derives its name devil’s bit – the devil bit off the end of the tap root, annoyed at its healing properties.
Avg contents: 150 seeds.