Cephalaria gigantea
Common Name: giant pincushion flower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Native Range: Caucasus, Siberia
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Primrose yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies


Best grown in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Flowering stems tend to flop if plants are grown in anything less than full sun. Foliage generally declines as the summer progresses, particularly if soils are allowed to dry out. Deadhead spent flowers to promote additional bloom. At the end of the flowering period, cut back all flowering stems to the ground and trim back foliage as needed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cephalaria gigantea, commonly called giant scabious or yellow scabious, is native to moist soils from the Caucusus to Siberia. Closely related to and in the same family as scabiosas (pin cushion flowers), this vigorous plant is primarily grown for its large size, attractive young foliage and yellow flowers. It is an erect, clump-forming perennial that typically grows 4- 6’ (infrequently to 8’) tall. Scabiosa-like primrose yellow flowers (to 2.5” diameter) bloom in summer. Flowers appear singly atop stiff, wiry, branched, sparsely-leaved stems rising well above the foliage mound to 6’ tall. Pinnately-divided, dark green, basal leaves (to 16” long) with oblong to lance-shaped segments. Synonymous with C. tartarica. Also commonly called Tartarian cephalaria.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kephale meaning a head for the flower head.

Specific epithet means unusually tall or large.


No serious insect or disease problems. Taller plants may need some staking or support.


This plant needs a large space. Border rears or cottage gardens. Naturalize in wildflower meadows or wild areas.