Scabiosa africana, the Cape scabious, is a sprawling shrublet reaching 40 cm to 1 m when in flower. The initial tuft branches at the base into a multitude of pale green, velvety leaf rosettes at stem-tips.
Big mauve or lilac flowerheads appear at the tips of long, slender stalks from before the middle of winter to spring. Flowerhead diameter is from 3 cm to 4,5 cm. The flowerheads become bristly balls when the many, closely aligned, individual flowers fruit and produce their seeds.
The species distribution is only on the Cape Peninsula. The habitat is sheltered sandstone slopes. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
The plant is grown from seed or cuttings for the garden and for cut flowers (Manning, 2007; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; www.plantzafrica.com; http://redlist.sanbi.org).