If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

18 June, 2010

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Yellow Rattle is also known as Hay Rattle. It is common on grassland and downland from May until August. It has a preference for chalk soils and is in full fling now at Durslton where it is exceedingly common in the flower meadows but it also common elsewwhere in the county.

It is a member of the figwort family although those flowers look very much like a nettle. When the seed cases ripen the seeds 'rattle' inside the the calyx, hence the name. The other interesting thing about this plant is that it is parasitic using grasses to gather its nutrients.