Invasive Plant

Field scabious

Knautia arvensis

About This Species

Field scabious crowds out forage and pasture plants, reducing food availability for grazing animals. It grows along disturbed roadsides throughout the province. It is an escaped ornamental popular for its pretty flower and ability to attract butterflies. A single plant can produce up to 2,000 seeds, which makes this plant difficult to remove once established. It is considered a noxious weed in parts of BC.

How to Identify

Plants are sturdy with a well-formed taproot and long leafless stalks that form large violet to pink, clover-like flowers. Stems are upright and hairy with coarsely toothed, feather-shaped leaves.


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Take Action

Prevent Field scabious from invading by regularly monitoring pasture lands for infestation. To remove, cut or mow plants prior to seeding. Do not attempt to remove via pulling out the plant– it is very difficult to fully remove the long roots, and root fragments left in the soil can grow into a mature plant.



Learn about best practices

A few non-invasive alternatives to plant instead of Field scabious include:

  • Columbines (Aquilegia cultivars)
  • Common harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
  • Masterwort (Astrantia major)
  • Hybrid yarrow (Achillea millefolium hybrids)
  • Bee balm (Monarda didyma)

Go Further


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