Centaurea scabiosa

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeCentaureaCentaurea scabiosa


A tufted, winter-green, perennial herb of dry, usually calcareous soils, found in grassland, scrub and woodland edges, on cliffs, roadsides, railway banks, quarries and waste ground. 0-320 m (Matlock, Derbys.).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Centaurea scabiosa
© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 3

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 832

Life form information

Height (cm): 105

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1239

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 125

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 2

Atlas Change Index: -0.49

Weighted Changed Factor: -30

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (291a)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Grose D
1957.  The Flora of Wiltshire.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger EJ
1992.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.