A new flower for me. Had I not taken a second look my scanning of the empty field would have lumped in this new flower with the chicory that was starting to bloom everywhere.
But wait a minute…chicory is a powder blue color and its blossoms seem to be stuck to the main stem at random places. This new flower was terminal on a long stem. The main stem rose up a couple of feet into the air and at the end was a single composite flower of irregular flowers.
(Photos taken 26 June 2014.)
The petals were a softer color more to the purple side of blue, like lavender. And the petals were shorter and didn’t have the teeth at the tips like the fringed petals of chicory.
Looking a bit closer at the leaves they can be described as opposite, toothed or lobed. The leaves higher on the stem were thin and lobed while the lower leaves were lance-shaped and toothed.
So what is this new flower? Using the characters of flower type as irregular flowers, plant type of wildflower with opposite leaves, and leaf type with leaves toothed or lobed, one comes up with a ‘143’ group number in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Turning to the Locator Key we use the fact that the medium-sized flowers (1/4 to 3/4 inch long) were not yellow and had stamens protruding, helps to identify this new flower as Field Scabious.
Field Scabious, Knautia arvensis, is native to Europe and alien to North America, but it can now be found in the northern tier United States, New England and southern Canada.