Common Cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense)

I was a bit surprised to find lots of Common Cow-wheat along the side of the lane leading to Coombe Heath nature reserve, I had always though of it as a spring flower but I see from my book that it flowers from May right through to September. There was certainly a lot of it in flower today.

Common Cow-wheat is primarily a woodland plant bit also occurs on heaths and boggy areas and so the approach to Coombe Heath must be ideal as the lane passes through woodland before opening up on to the heath which has a fantastic bog in the middle of it.

Cow-wheat is an interesting flower in that it is a member of the figwort family but unlike many other members of the family the Cow-wheats are partially parasitic on other plants.

Common Cow-wheat has very delicate tubular flowers and, whilst not rare, I would call it uncommon.

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