Best Time to See: June, July, August
Colour: Yellow, silver
One of our most important meadow wild flowers. It is hemi-parasitical on grasses and so weakens them, thereby giving other wild flowers a chance to compete and gradually establish themselves.
An erect plant with longish stems without many leaves. When the yellow tubular flowers fade, the calyx behind them becomes a silvery sphere in which the seeds ripen – the rattle.
Habitat and distribution
On nutrient-poor grasslands, including permanent pastures hay meadows and dunes. Also on roadsides and waste ground.
Did you know?
- It used to be said that when the yellow rattle was in flower, the hay was ready for cutting.
- Cattle love yellow rattle – when let into a field it is the first thing they will eat.
- The plant’s leaves make a yellow dye.
Yellow rattle underwent a marked decline in Britain throughout the 20th century, thought to be a result of changes in farming practices.