Friday, August 8, 2014

Common cow-wheat

I hadn't realised what an attractive little flower common cow-wheat Melampyrum pratense is until I took these pictures, .... especially ........

.... from this angle, with those frilly edges at the entrance to the tubular corolla.

These plants were flowering in woodland on the north bank of the river Tees at Barnard Castle earlier this week. Cow-wheat is partially parasitic in the roots of a variety of woodland plants, although it always seems to be most abundant when its growing on bilberry, as it was here.

All the spring flowers are just a distant memory and there are few species in bloom in woodland but common cow-wheat is an exception and is at its best right now. This bumblebee was taking full advantage, collecting pollen and nectar.


  1. Beautiful flowers. The bumble bee is a tireless worker- I see him at work at 6 a.m and also at 6 p.m!

    1. Sometimes I see them foraging in the rain

  2. So that is its name, thank you Phil.