Q. I am looking for information about Agrostemma githago. Can you help me?
|Agrostemma githago (common corn-cockle) is a flowering plant in the pink (Caryophylaceae) family. Corn-cockle is a hardy annual growing to about 2 ft. in height. Its leaves are narrow and grass-like and about two or three inches long. Flowers are five-petaled and borne singly on long stems. They are purple or magenta in color with two or three dark lines in the center. Flowers are produced from May to September in the north-east. Five, narrow sepals are longer than the petals. Seeds are found in capsules containing many seeds.|
Corn-cockle is a weed of wheat fields and was widespread in Europe, United States and other grain-producing countries until recently. It is now rather uncommon in fields because of changing agricultural practices. In fact, in was thought to be extinct in Britain, where is was once very common, until a single plant was found in 2014. Since all parts of the plant are poisonous, particularly the seeds, it presence in wheat flour was a problem.
Corn-cockle makes an attractive garden plant. It can be grown from seed, sown in spring in the north-east or in the fall in warmer regions. It grows best in full sun in poor soil with good drainage. The cultivar 'Milas' is superior to the native species as a garden plant. It is taller, with larger rose-purple flowers.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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