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Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Yellow Rattle, which grows in the drier grassland of Dubwath Meadows alonside ox-eye daisy and knapweed, gets its name from the fact that the seeds rattle in the husky capsules when ripe. The plant has short leafy spikes of bright yellow, lipped flowers. The stem is spotted black and carries opposing pairs of narrow, spear-shaped leaves. Unlike most meadow flowers, this is an annual and is thus dependent on producing enough seed for the next year.

The plant used to be called Rattle Grass and the herbalist Gerard also called it Pennygrass, referring to the flattened, fairly circular outline of the capsules. The scientific name Rhinanthus comes from two Greek words meaning nose and flower, referring to the projecting beak of the upper part of the flower.

 

Yellow rattle was considered to have certain properties that could cure poor sight. The herbalist Culpepper states that: " it is held to be good for those troubled with dimness of sight, if the herb being boiled with beans and honey; put thereof to be drunk or dropped into the eyes. The whole seed being put into the eyes draweth forth any skin, dimness or film from the sight without trouble or pain".

Yellow Rattle (Copyright Eiona55)