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  • Clare Tindal

The wildflower grand finale for this year

Updated: Apr 18

The wildflower final hurrah of the year at Lough Mardal is dominated by this beauty. The Devil's-bit scabious. I've come to love it so much. Maybe because it's the last of the wildflowers here now til next spring and puts on such an impressive grand finale virtually blanketing the land in every direction, even the boggier bits.

Devil's-bit scabious was considered a powerful plant in folklore. It was an important ingredient in an old Irish potion to cure the 'evil eye'! There are no evil eyes up here thankfully, but if there was...!

They say its name comes from the legend that the devil was jealous of all its healing qualities, so he bit the end of its root off in spite. (The root does look as if the end part has been bitten off.) Its particular powers in treating skin conditions is where 'scabious' comes from, derived from scabies.

It is also the primary foodplant of the Marsh Fritillary caterpillar, a rare and very beautiful butterfly seen here if you're lucky in June.

But it had me before I knew any of this.

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