Scabiosa africana incisa columbaria hybrids
Cape Scabious or Pincushion
mauve; pink; purple; white; September - December; spring summer
sun; afternoon sun; container; roof gardens; rockery; slope; wildlife insects butterflies; S. africana clay soils
grassland; fynbos; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn
western cape; highveld; thicket; subtropical east coast
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There are many hybrids available of our most successful SA species, and the Scabiosa family is no exception. S. africana is a Western Cape endemic from the Fynbos habitat. It has large, mauve flowers and grey-green leaves that form attractive soil-protecting. Flowers dance gleefully far above the leaves, quite delightful when mixed with a variety of other fynbos species. Flowering covers spring to early summer, and the rather bristly seed heads that follow are attractive enough to keep and provide food and nesting materials for wildlife. Flowers are also long-lasting when picked for the vase. Plant in sunny to semi-shade situations. Don’t overdo the compost and fertiliser with this species, and cut old woody plants right back; they will shoot from the base. S incisa, also a W. Cape endemic, is a stronger plant than S. africana, hailing from the Bokbaai to Grahamstown regions, and it flowers in spring. The species, S. columbaria, is the most widespread of the genus, occurring throughout much of Africa - Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, and North West. This species is common in grasslands along the KZN South Coast, as well as inland. It grows to about 70 cm tall and prefers little compost and fertiliser if any at all.