Sweet Scabious

(Scabiosa atropurpúrea) Names like Widow's Flower (Folkard), Poor Widoe, or Mournful Widow (E M Wright) are fairly common in the south of England, and it is interesting to find that, under the name Saudade, this plant was much used in Portugal and Brazil for funeral wreaths (Coats). The name Scabiosa has an interesting derivation. It is from Latin scabere, to scratch. Scabies got its name from the plant, which was used as a remedy. Or is it the other way round? Young suggested that it was named from the scab. The OED seems to confirm this (med Latin scabiosa herba, named as specific against itch). Anyway, it was actually grown in gardens to use as a cure for the itch (Folkard).

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