Corn cleavers (Galium tricornutum)

loading
Corn cleavers in flower
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Corn cleavers fact file

Corn cleavers description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumAnthophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderRubiales
FamilyRubiaceae
GenusGalium (1)

Corn cleavers is an endangered plant that has bristly stems and produces thin leaves in whorls of up to nine. The double fruits are hairless and supported on stalks that curve downwards (2). These seeds were once used as pin-head covers by lace-makers to protect their fingers (5).

Size
Height: 80-180 cm (2)
Top

Corn cleavers biology

This annual plant typically germinates in autumn and flowers between May and September (3). It seems unable to co-exist with competitive plants and so is therefore associated with open areas where there is sparse vegetation, such as the very edge of fields (3).

Top

Corn cleavers range

This plant was once common in southern, central and eastern England but has suffered a severe decline. It now occurs in just three sites; one in Rothamsted, one near Oxford and a third in Cambridgeshire (6). In southern Europe the species is relatively common, although it is probably declining (4); it is very rare in north Europe (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
Top

Corn cleavers habitat

Inhabits disturbed ground (3) in arable land, waste ground, coastal cliffs, and hedgerow banks (6).

Top

Corn cleavers status

Classified as Critically Endangered in Great Britain (3). Corn cleavers is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) priority species, for which Plantlife is lead partner (4).

Top

Corn cleavers threats

Agricultural intensification is largely responsible for the precipitous decline of this once common species (6), starting towards the end of the nineteenth century when seed cleaning techniques were improved (3). More recent threats include the use of herbicides and fertilisers, the loss of field-margins, the use of more productive crops and alterations in the traditional style of crop rotation (6).

Top

Corn cleavers conservation

This plant is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species; Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity, is the lead partner responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Species Action Plan devised to guide the conservation of corn cleavers. The plan aims to encourage the colonisation of new sites, and reintroduce corn cleavers to eight former sites by 2003 (6).

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
TopTop

Authentication

Information authenticated by Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity:
http://www.plantlife.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Annual
Lives or grows for just one year.
Whorl
In animals, the spiral or convolutions in the shell of a snail. In plants, a set of leaves, flowers, or branches that spring from a stem at the same point and encircle it.
Top

References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (January, 2003)
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
  2. Press, B. and Gibbons, B. (1993) Photographic field guide: Wild Flowers of Britain and Europe. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd., London.
  3. Wigginton, M.J. (1999) British Red Data Books 1; Vascular Plants. 3rd Edition. JNCC, Peterborough.
  4. Byfield, A. (2003) Pers. comm.
  5. Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
  6. UK BAP Species Action Plan (November, 2001)
    http://www.ukbap.org.uk
X
Close

Image credit

Corn cleavers in flower  
Corn cleavers in flower

© John Mason / www.ardea.com

Ardea wildlife pets environment
59 Tranquil Vale
London
SE3 0BS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 318 1401
ardea@ardea.co.uk
http://www.ardea.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Corn cleavers (Galium tricornutum) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog RSS