These beautiful flowers were once used to treat Scabies, hence the rather ugly name of Scabious plants. The flower heads of Field Scabious, and it’s similar close relative, the Devil’s Bit Scabious, were also used to treat the sores caused by the Bubonic Plague. Devil’s Bit Scabious, is so called, because according to folklore, the devil was said to have bitten off the flower’s black roots (leaving a very short root), in an attempt to kill the plant because it was being used to try to treat the plague victims.
Field Scabious is also sometimes called by the much prettier name of the Gypsy Rose.
The Latin name for Field Scabious is Knautia arvensis, the genus of the plant being named after the 17th century botanist and physician Christian Knaut.