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Trenta Scabious (Scabiosa trenta)

The physician, Balthasar Hacquet, arrived in the mercury town of Idrija more than 200 years ago. On one of his excursions, he discovered "on the evening, Trenta side of Triglav, a new species of scabious and picked it for his herbarium collection, which is preserved in the Natural History Museum of Slovenia. He called the species Scabiosa trenta (Trenta scabious) in the published description, and drew it.


Many botanists have sought the secretive pale yellow scabious. Hacquet's drawing on yellowing parchment paper also brought the young Julius Kugy to the Julian Alps. He searched for the secretive flower, and found the kingdom of Goldenhorn.


The Austrian botanist, A. Kerner, who examined the example from the herbarium in the Provincial Museum in Ljubljana, solved the riddle. Balthasar Hacquet had not found a new species, but the already known Cephalaria leucantha which grows on karst commons and sunny rocks in the sub-mediterranean area. It can be seen in Slovenia in the vicinity of Socerb, Movraž and Sočerga.


Trenta Scabious was a relict from the warmer inter-glacial period, when karst flora advanced deep into the heart of the Alps. It is actually possible that Hacquet found the last example of this species, and his successors found no more because the plant had already died out on the western slopes of Triglav. Scabiosa trenta remained in the two hundred year old herbarium sheet, in the lost Goldenhorn gardens, and in Kugy's dreams:


"And I greet you through all times and places, dear miraculous flower of my heart, Scabiosa Trenta!"




Text by Nada Praprotnik



Trenta Scabious (Scabiosa trenta) / Photo: Ciril Mlinar