Rhinanthus minor ssp minor   Yellow-rattle C DD N

Rhinanthus minor ssp minor whole Rhinanthus minor ssp minor close

This is a plant associated with undisturbed grassland and when I find it I look out for a more diverse range of plants than usual. The reason for this is that Rhinanthus minor is semi-parasitic on grasses. It can survive alone but in meadows it takes some nutrients from nearby grasses reducing their vigour This allows less competitive species to flourish and increases species diversity so it sometimes planted deliberately to keep grasses from dominating where species diversity is the objective. The name comes from the seed pods. When the seeds are ripe they rattle about inside the pod.

The sub species of Rhinanthus minor can be separated with careful attention to detail in the field but as can be seen from the various Rhinanthus sub species published here the photographs give very few obvious clues as to the differences between them.

Rhinanthus minor ssp minor is found throughout the British Isles and Ireland. It is probably much more widespread than the distribution maps indicate because many observations will not distinguish between sub species.

LHS: Newborough Warren 22nd May 2001 RHS: Langden Beck, Teesdale, 21st June 2005

Added on 2nd December 2004, updated 17th November 2011

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