Rhinanthus minor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yellow rattle, cockscomb
Yellow-rattle 700.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Rhinanthus
R. minor
Binomial name
Rhinanthus minor

Rhinanthus minor, the yellow rattle, little yellow rattle,[1] hayrattle or cockscomb, is a flowering plant in the genus Rhinanthus in the family Orobanchaceae, native to Europe, northern North America, and Western Asia.

Capsules and seeds


A herbaceous annual plant, yellow rattle is a hemi-parasitic that gains some of its nutrients from the roots of neighbouring plants. It grows to 25–50 centimetres (9+3419+34 in) tall, with opposite, simple leaves, with a serrated margin. The flowers are yellow, produced on a terminal raceme. The fruit is a dry capsule, which contain loose, rattling seeds when ripe; the plant's name refers to these. Its preferred habitat is dry fields or meadows, where its flowering period is between June and September. The plant can associate with many different host species, notably Poaceae (grasses) and Fabaceae (legumes).[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

In Ireland and Scotland, yellow rattle is often associated with Machair habitat. Research at the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has shown that encouraging yellow rattle to grow in hay meadows greatly increases biodiversity by restricting grass growth and thereby allowing other species to thrive.[citation needed] The seeds are spread very effectively by traditional hay-making practices.

Ecology and cultivation[edit]

Yellow rattle can be cultivated by scarifying the surface of the ground with a fork or similar, then sowing onto short grass, 0.5–1 gram (0.018–0.035 oz) of seed per square metre. Yellow rattle seed is short-lived and should always be sown in the autumn, using seed harvested that year. Then, keep grass short for beginning of March when seedlings establish. Thereafter, the grass should not be cut until the end of July to allow the yellow rattle to flower and go to seed, then cut short.[citation needed]


Rhinanthus is derived from Greek and means 'nose flower', which is in reference to the shape of the upper lip of the corolla.[3] Minor means 'smaller'.[4]


  1. ^ "Rhinanthus minor". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  2. ^ Gibson & Watkinson 1989.
  3. ^ Gledhill 2008, p. 330.
  4. ^ Gledhill 2008, p. 260.


Further reading[edit]