Scabiosa atropurpurea
Photo by Flickr user Paul Sullivan

pincushion flower


  • This plant has a Plant Risk Evaluator rating of High Potential Risk
  • This plant has been rated Watch by the California Invasive Plant Council


Called the pincushion flower because it resembles a pincushion full of needles. Leaves are oblong and coarsely toothed. Many long, wiry stems carry flowers 2 inches or more wide in colors that vary from blackish purple to pink and white. Grows as an annual in Sunset zones 1-24 (all of California) but may persist as a perennial where winters are mild. Native to the Canary and Madeira islands, southern Europe, and Turkey.

Why is this plant not included on the invasive plant list?

Scabiosa atropurpurea was considered for addition to the list from 2012 to 2014, but was included in any nursery surveys. It has naturalized in some places in the San Francisco Bay area and a few locations on the central and south coast of California. See Calflora for a map of its distribution in California outside of cultivation.

Additional photos of pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea)