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SCABIOSA'S UNFORTUNATE NAME

August 31, 2019

(This design can now be found here on Etsy.)

 

I wanted to paint flowers for autumn in the deeper and more intense colors of fall, and found a lovely bunch of flowers at the natural food store where I shop.  Immediately I fell in love with these bright blue blossoms called Scabiosa.  (I had to ask my Instagram friends to help me identify them.)  This, as far as I can tell from the Internet, is a Scabiosa caucasica.  So, digging deeper on the WWW I went to discover why such a beautiful flower would have this unfortunate name.

I found it is native to the Caucasus, north eastern Turkey, and northern Iran. It's pincushion-shaped buds, give it the nickname, pincushion flower, and it is highly attractive to bees and butterflies.  In the first photo above, you can see the flower posing for my painting has opened into the shape of a pincushion.

This cheerful meadow flower was given the name, Scabiosa, because the Romans used it to treat all sorts of unpleasant skin diseases like scabies. 

 

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