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Agrostemma githago

Common Corncockle

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  • Agrostemma githago

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Growing Info

Introducing Agrostemma githago, commonly known as the common corn-cockle or corncockle. This beautiful flower features slender pink petals and is typically found in fields, roadsides, railway lines, waste places, and other disturbed areas. The plant grows up to 100 cm in height and is covered with fine hairs. Its lanceolate leaves are pale green and oppositely arranged. The flowers, which bloom from May to September in the northern hemisphere and from November to March in the southern hemisphere, measure around 25-50 mm in diameter and are scentless. Each petal bears distinctive black lines. The sepals are slender and exceed the petals in length, forming a rigid tube with ten ribs. The plant produces many seeds in a capsule.

Historically, Agrostemma githago was a common weed in European wheat fields, with its seeds often unintentionally mixed with harvested wheat seeds and subsequently re-sown the following season. However, due to changes in agricultural practices and better seed cleaning methods, the plant is now rare or locally distributed in parts of Europe. It has also been introduced as an alien species in many temperate regions worldwide. In recent years, it was even believed to be completely extinct in the United Kingdom until a single specimen was discovered in Sunderland in 2014.

Despite its beauty, it is important to note that all parts of the plant are poisonous and contain toxic substances such as githagin and agrostemmic acid. As a result, it is not recommended for human consumption and has been used in folk medicine with the risk of fatal poisoning. Agrostemma githago serves as a reminder of the delicate balance of nature and the importance of preserving biodiversity. For more information on this fascinating plant, please visit our website.

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