Growing up to 50cm in height but much lower on exposed clifftops, Sheep’s bit is most easily identifiable by its narrow blue petals which appear as a fluffy domed head between May-September. It has hairy, elongated green leaves at the base of the plant and the stem can be square to rounded with ridges and hairs.
The common name Sheep’s bit refers to the fact sheep do enjoy eating this plant but it is also known as “blue bonnets”, “blue buttons” and “Sheep’s bit Scabious” as it is similar to Scabious but it actually belongs to the bellflower family.
It can be found mainly in western parts of the UK, upon sandy grassland, heaths and rocky coastal regions, where the soil is acidic, free draining and exposed to full sun.
Dynamic Dunescapes are monitoring vegetation growth at our sand dune sites, as some courser plants do outcompete sheep’s bit, and if this were to occur the habitat upon which it depends and the food source that it provides for pollinating insects would be lost.
Projects protecting Sheep’s bit
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