Common names include sheep’s bit scabious, blue bonnets, blue buttons, blue daisy, iron flower, sheep’s scabious and sheep’s bit. It is a rock plant growing on heaths and moors at a high elevation in rocky districts, coastal cliffs, quarries and natural escarpments where the soil is thin. It prefers acid soils and is absent from limestone regions. It is often found on coastal cliffs in association with thrift and kidney vetch. The flowers are visible under ultraviolet light and it is believed that this makes them attractive to pollinating insects.