Some similarities to : There are reportedly six sub-species of Yellow-Rattle, differentiating between them is best left to experts with more patience but it will likely just drive them round the bend.
Slight resemblance to : A canary clambering out of an eggshell, with its mouth agape.
Many similarities to
Greater Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus angustifolius) but that has longer teeth (1-2mm rather than just 1mm for Yellow Rattle) on each side of the upper lip and they are longer than wide (as opposed to wider than long for Yellow Rattle). Also, the corolla tube curves upward (rather than being straight in Yellow Rattle), although the Author thinks you may have to dismantle the flower to see wether the corolla tube is straight or curves upwards for much of it will be hidden within the four coarsely-toothed fused sepals, being the calyx.
Uniquely identifiable characteristics: Apart from much rarer (RRR)
Greater Yellow-Rattle, which looks very similar, there are no other plants that have the same jizz as Yellow-Rattle. If the two teeth on either side of the upper lip are wider than they are long, then it is Yellow-rattle; if longer than wide, then it is
Distinguishing Feature : looks like a canary emerging from its eggshell with mouth agape.
This is a Hemi-parasitic plant, meaning that it relies on obtaining some of its nutrients from the roots of nearby plants. The flowers themselves have a beaked appearance that resembles those of Red Bartsia which is another hemi-parasite but the flowers of Yellow-Rattle are larger.
One of the effects of its parasitic nature is that it reduces the abundance of grasses by suppressing their growth.
Yellow-Rattle derives its name from the loose seeds within which rattle around in their pods when ripe. The scientific name 'Rhinanthus' is a flower that looks similar to a nose, which probably refers only to the seed pods. It is highly variable in several characteristics and displays ecotypic variation; that is variation due to the ecology of its immediate surroundings.
There are six reported sub-species of Yellow-Rattle, those shown in the above photographs could be any number of them, most are either rare [RR], or very rare [RRR]. But most are more likely to be the species which is not in any way rare, that of Rhinanthus minor ssp. minor.
Rather than list the proclaimed differences between these six, the Author shall just instead report that Clive Stace says that some populations of Rhinanthus major do not fit any sub-species descriptions, with the situation on the continent being even more complex, and that perhaps the sub-species might be best abandoned. If the reader is dissatisfied with this, then the Author herewith lists a few of the reported discriminations between the six:
- Rhinanthus minor ssp. minor
- Rhinanthus minor ssp. stenopyllus [R]
- Rhinanthus minor ssp. monticola [RR]
- Rhinanthus minor ssp. lintonii [RRR]
- Rhinanthus minor ssp. borealis [RRR]
- Rhinanthus minor ssp. calcareus [RRR]
These characteristics are not mutually exclusive, but used in various combinations for the six sub-species.
- Calyx hairy all over or only on margins.
- Branches in 0-2 pairs, or not, or in 0-1 pairs.
- Leaves linear-lanceolate or linear-oblong
- Lowest flower at node 7-10 or at node 5-7 or 8.
- Stems less than 25cm or less that 50cm long
- Leaves mostly tapering near the base or leaves mostly parallel-sided
- Leaves mostly in 0 to 1 pairs or leaves in 0 to 4 pairs.
- Lowest flower usually between 7th - 13th node or between 6th - 9th node.
- Corolla usually yellow or usually dull brownish-yellow