Yellow Rattle

Rhinanthus minor
Rhinanthus minor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Botanical Name : Rhinanthus minor
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Rhinanthus
Species: R. minor
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names ;Yellow Rattle or Cockscomb, Rhinanthus minor

Habitat : Rhinanthus minor is  native to Europe and Western Asia.Its preferred habitat is dry fields or meadows.In Ireland and Scotland, this species is often associated with Machair habitat.

Description:
Rhinanthus minor is a hemi-parasitic herbaceous annual plant that gains some of its nutrients from the roots of neighbouring plants. It grows to 25-50 cm 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 flowering period is between June and September.

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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. The seeds are spread very effectively by traditional hay-making practices.

It can be cultivated by scarifying the surface of the ground with a fork or similar, then sowing onto short grass, 0.5 to 1 gram 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.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is ophthalmic.  Rhianthus has been reported to be an effective substitute for eyebright.  Used as an internal tea for colds and an external wash for the eyes.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinanthus_minor
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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