COMMON COW-WHEAT

Melampyrum pratense

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]  
Formerly in: Figwort & Foxglove Family [Scrophulariaceae]

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8yellow
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ1
stem
stem8square

6th July 2007, Colwith Force, Little Langdale. Photo: © RWD


6th July 2007, Colwith Force, Little Langdale, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
The grass-like leaves are well camouflaged by the grass.


1st Aug 2007, Darwen Moor, Darwen, Lancs. Photo: © RWD


1st July 2005, Eskdale Valley. Photo: © RWD


6th July 2007, Colwith Force, Little Langdale, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD


6th July 2007, Colwith Force, Little Langdale, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The flowers always grow in pairs, much like does Skullcap.


6th July 2007, Colwith Force, Little Langdale, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD


6th July 2007, Colwith Force, Little Langdale, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD


Slight resemblance to :Skullcap, but Common Cow-Wheat is yellow not blue. The flowers themselves have some semblance to other hemi-parasitic plants such as Yellow Rattle (Rhianthus minor), but that is shorter and the flowers all yellow.

This is a  Hemi-parasitic plant, meaning that it relies on obtaining some of its' nutrients from the roots of nearby plants.

The leaves are hard to see blending in well with the grass it grows so well amongst. The yellow flowers always grow in pairs up the stem. The first pair to emerge being at the top of the (square) stem.

The sepal teeth are very long and have brownish markings.

The seeds contain high concentrations of the toxic glycosidic compound Rhinanthin (aka Aucubin) to deter animals from consuming them. Presumably the same compound is also found in Rhinanthus species such as Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) which are also hemi-parasitic plants.


  Melampyrum pratense  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orobanchaceae  

Distribution
family8Broomrape family8Orobanchaceaeae

 BSBI maps
genus8Melampyrum
Melampyrum
(Cow-wheats)

COMMON COW-WHEAT

Melampyrum pratense

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]  
Formerly in: Figwort & Foxglove Family [Scrophulariaceae]

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