Melampyrum pratense

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Melampyrum pratense
Melampyrum pratense.jpeg
Bombus hortorum - Melampyrum pratense - Tallinn.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Melampyrum
Species: M. pratense
Binomial name
Melampyrum pratense

Melampyrum pratense, common cow-wheat, is a plant species in the family Orobanchaceae.

The seed of the plant has an elaiosome, which is attractive to wood ants (Formica spp.). The ants disperse the seeds of the plant when they take them back to their nests to feed their young.[1] The plant is an ancient woodland indicator, as the ants rarely carry the seeds more than a few yards, seldom crossing a field to go to a new woodland.

M. pratense is a food plant of the caterpillars of the heath fritillary (Melitaea athalia), a butterfly.[2]

M. pratense herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea or externally as pillow filling for treatment of rheumatism and blood vessels calcification.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Puplett, D. Symbiosis. Trees for Life. Accessed 22 June 2013.
  2. ^ Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia). UK Butterflies. Accessed 22 June 2013.