Common Cow-wheat - Melampyrum pratense


Leaves in pairs, linear to oval untoothed and generally unstalked. Flowers yellow to whitish, 10 to 18 mm long, the upper lip often tinged with red or purple in lax, one sided spikes, throat of the corolla usually closed. 

Similar Species

The leaves can look very similar to Greater Stitchwort, but are larger and firmer in texture

Identification difficulty

Woods, scrub, heaths and upland moorlands on well-drained, nutrient-poor acidic soils.

When to see it

In flower June to October. 

Life History

An annual hemiparasite. The large seeds are distributed by ants.

UK Status

Local and declining in Britain, probably due to habitat loss and the cessation of traditional woodland management.

VC55 Status

Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland where it seems to be confined to the Charnwood area. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 7 of the 617 tetrads.

It is on the current Rare Plant Register (Jeeves, 2011)

be our species champion

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map