Resembling a pincushion full of pins, each Scabiosa flower has stamens that protrude well beyond the curved surface of the flower head. Bloom begins in midsummer, continues until frost if flowers are deadheaded or cut regularly. Good in mixed or mass plantings. Excellent cut flowers. Not usually browsed by deer.
S. atropurpurea. PINCUSHION FLOWER, MOURNING BRIDE. Annual. May also be sold as S. grandiflora. From southern Europe. To 2123 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide. Oblong, coarsely toothed leaves. Many carry flowers to 2 in. or more wide, in colors ranging from blackish purple to salmon-pink, rose, white. Tall Double Mixed strain, 'Black Knight', and 'Salmon Queen' reach 3 ft. tall; Dwarf Double Mixed grows to 112 ft. high.
S. caucasica. PINCUSHION FLOWER. Perennial. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. From the Caucasus, Turkey, Iran. To 112212 ft. high, 12 ft. wide. Leaves vary from finely cut to uncut. Flowers 2123 in. across, in blue to bluish lavender or white, depending on selection. Needs partial shade in hottest climates. Many selections are sold. 'Fama' has branching stalks carrying blue, 3-in. flowers with broad rays; 'Fama White' has white flowers. The Perfecta series bears white, blue, and lavender-blue flowers with fringed rays. House's Hybrids contains a mixture of blue shades and white.
S. columbaria. Perennial. From Europe, Africa, Asia. To 2 ft. high and wide, with finely cut, gray-green leaves. Flowers to 3 in., in lavender-blue, pink, or white; bloom almost all year in the Tropical South. Hybrids 'Butterfly Blue' (deep lavender-blue) and 'Pink Mist' (bright pink) are choice.