Yellow rattle is an annual wild flower with yellow, hooded flowers on stems of nettle-like leaves. Also known as Cock’s Comb and Penny Grass and is a member of the Figwort family. Its seeds rattle inside the capsule when ripe (hence the plant’s name). Grows 5 – 18 ins (12 – 50 cm) high. As it is semi-parasitic on grass it is ideal for sowing amongst meadow grasses and wildflowers to help control grass growth.
The name “rhinanthus” comes from two Greek words meaning nose and flower, due to the projecting beak of the upper portion of the corolla. The plant is a partial parasite, getting its nourishment from grass roots and other nearby plants. It is found in the wild in grassy areas and marshes.
Medicinally, Yellow Rattle is alleged to be good for coughs and dimness of sight – although ALWAYS check with a qualified herbalist before taking!
The ripening seeds of yellow provide food for the caterpillars of the Grass Rivulet moth, who live inside the seed capsules before they overwinter as pupae underground.