Field Scabious - Knautia arvensis

Description: Field scabious is a large, erect forb with a large branched taproot and a single main stem, branching into multiple flower stalks.

Type: perennial

Habitat and Impacts: Field scabious grows in a wide range of conditions on sites with nutrient-rich finely textured soils. Infestations of field scabious can reduce the yield and quality of forage in pastures. Native vegetation can be displaced by heavy infestations.

Method of Spread: Field scabious reproduces by seed and vegetatively through stolons. Seed production is moderate with up to 2000 seeds produced per plant. Most seeds fall close to the parent plant but some may be spread by animals. Field scabious seeds may remain viable in the soil for many years. This species is generally slow spreading, but is very invasive and can colonize most suitable habitats.

Location: Infestations of Field scabious are found in the City of Quesnel, south of Quesnel, Gaspard Creek, and Alexis Creek. Currently the only known severe infestation is along the Cottonwood River

Management Options:

Mechanical: Mowing or hand pulling prior to seed set can control seed production, and cultivation may eliminate an infestation. Cattle can be used to graze young plants

Chemical: Picloram, 2, 4-D, glyphosate and metsulfuron-methyl are effective herbicides for the control of field scabious.

Biological: There is no biocontrol agent available for field scabious in British Columbia.

CCCIPC Priority and Treatment Strategy: Priority 1 (new invader) in all areas of the region except the North Cariboo, where is it ranked as Priority 2 (containment). A containment area has been established around the infestation in the Cottonwood area. Only localized treatment for field scabious will be taken within this area, but all infestations outside the containment area will be treated.

Treatment Options:

Local Level - chemical, hand-pull or mow. Hand pull or mow in riparian areas.
Landscape Level - chemical spraying or manual control.


Field Scabious infestation

Field Scabious flower.

British Columbia Minstry of Agriculture and Lands

Field Scabious plant.


Invasive species profile taken from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee Invasive Plant Regional Strategic Plan

Page last modified: October 30, 2018 09:44:02 PDT