Germany’s “Flower of the Year” 2015

Photo Courtesy of Loki Schmidt Foundation - Flower of the year for 2015

Photo Courtesy of Loki Schmidt Foundation – Flower of the Year for 2015

Every year an endangered wild flower is chosen by the Loki Schmidt Foundation in Germany, with the aim of raising awareness to it and its habitat.

Some of my favourites have been chosen over the years; Hepatica nobilis in 2013, Cichorium intybus in 2009, Cardamine pratensis in 2006, Caltha palustris in 1999 and Pulsatilla vulgaris in 1996 – to name just a few.

This year the chosen flower is a close relative to one I have growing in my rockery, and is not only one of my favourites – the insects, bees and butterflies love it too.

Succisa pratensis

SuccisaPratensisMoench

Picture from Wikimedia Commons

The above photo from Wikimedia Commons is the Succisa pratensis, but all the following photos are of its close cousin Succisa inflexa, a cultivated version that is extremely happy in my well-drained soil despite supposedly being a moorland, heathland and riverbank plant. The pale blue to violet flowers of this perennial herb appear from July onwards and can still be seen in the south of Germany growing wild. But the in the north this plant has become very rare due to loss of habitat: drainage of damp meadowland for agricultural or building purposes along with the over-fertilisation of fields have led to its decline.

My Succisa inflexa ‘Frosted Pearls’ is very pale, almost white with an icy violet tinge…

Succisella

The common name, Devil’s-bit, actually refers to the roots that die off at the end and look as if they have been bitten off. Succisus is in fact latin for “bitten off below”. In the same family as Scabious, folklore claimed that the devil bit off the Succisa roots in his anger at them being used (apparently succesfully) for treating skin disorders.

I must admit I haven’t inspected the roots of mine, but will definitely take a look this year as they are spreading rapidly, just like Scabious, and some will have to be uprooted.

Succisella

Succisa flowers are an excellent source of nectar for bees and butterflies, and the plant is also a food source for some caterpillars…

Succisella5

This is a Summer Map (Araschnia levana) butterfly, photographed in 2012…

Succisella and Butterfly

You can read more on the English Wikipedia page about the Flower of the Year Campaign here.

Seeds can be ordered here: jelitto.com

or here: beehappyplants.co.uk

And I also posted about this plant way back in August 2012, here.

Is there a wildflower in your region that is threatened? Which one would you choose as a “Flower of the Year” in your country to raise public awareness to it?

44 thoughts on “Germany’s “Flower of the Year” 2015

  1. Hi Cathy, du Glückliche! You are growing such a species in your garden. I hope to see this years flower of the year in Germany in summer in the wild. I´ve been told, it´s growing here.

    • I hope so too. Past campaigns have had limited success, only on a regional level, but the Foundation has a new website and it seems a lot of effort is going into it this year!

    • It would be nice if the campaign could get more publicity… In the past postage stamps with a picture of the annual flower were issued, but so few people buy stamps these days!

  2. I love this plant, it doesn’ t grow round here, in the wild it seems to prefer a moist acid soil. I would love to grow it in the garden. I know it as ‘ Devil Bit Scabious’.

  3. What a pretty, delicate looking flower! I usually see more invasive non-native flowers growing around in this area than natives, sadly. I spent a good deal of time last summer cutting invasives out of my new yard. Hopefully that will give the natives a better chance!

    • We do have non-natives here too of course, but so far none have spread to a threatening degree near us…. except perhaps the Canadian golden rod, but it has been here for a couple of hundred years now! 😉

  4. It is a great idea to have a flower of the year, it would be nice if other countries picked this up. Coincidently, it was mentioned in a book I was reading last night so it was nice to see it this morning! Amelia

    • Yes, I am surprised there isn’t something similar in the UK… I also read something about the German campaign in an English article recently (possibly the Telegraph or maybe the Guardian?) and was pleased to see it had gained so much attention even abroad.

  5. It is such a great idea to have a wild flower of the year, nothing like that happens here in Italy where there is a distinct lack of interesst in wild flowers unless they are edible!

  6. What a great idea. I wish we would adopt something like this here. It’s the perfect way to draw awareness to something that many people don’t stop to think about. Thanks for sharing, Cathy.

    • The wild one must be so pretty too, with shades of blue and purple dominating. I am thinking of getting hold of some seeds after all, but for the edge of the garden and not the rockery….

  7. Pingback: Tree Following – Germany’s Tree of the Year 2015: the Field Maple | Words and Herbs

  8. Pingback: Thursday’s Feature: Succisella inflexa | Words and Herbs

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