Tuesday 21 May
Small cow-wheat (Melampyrum sylvaticum)
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Small cow-wheat fact file
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Small cow-wheat description
Small cow-wheat has narrow leaves and produces deep brownish yellow flowers (4).
- Height: up to 35 cm (2)
Small cow-wheat biology
Small cow-wheat is a hemiparasitic plant, this means that it can obtain nutrients from other plants, but can also live independently due to the presence of a root system and the green pigment chlorophyll. It is an annual species, and flowers from June to August (4).Top
Small cow-wheat range
A locally occurring species in northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, with historic records from Wales. It has become extinct in 70% of the former UK range (3). This species is endemic to Europe, with strongholds in Scandinavia, the Alps and the Balkans (3).Top
Small cow-wheat habitatTop
Small cow-wheat statusTop
Small cow-wheat threats
Current threats to the species include agricultural intensification, with fertiliser application at woodland edges, over grazing in woodlands or the abandonment of grazing, and the planting of non-native tree species (4).Top
Small cow-wheat conservation
Small cow-wheat is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species, the Species Action Plan aims to halt the decline before the year 2005 and return the species to five sites from which it has been lost by 2010 (3). It occurs in three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), which are managed as reserves (3).Top
Information authenticated by the Forestry Commission:
- Lives or grows for just one year.
- A group of green pigments found in photosynthetic organisms (photosynthesis is a metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is reduced, using energy absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product).
- Plant that obtains some nutrition from a host plant, but is able to survive independently as it possesses the pigment chlorophyll and a root system.
- National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary ( 2002) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
- Paul Gallagher, (2002) Forestry Commission. Pers. comm.
- UK BAP Species Action Plan (March 2002): www.ukbap.org.uk
- Press, B. & Gibbons, B. (1993) Photographic field guide: Wild Flowers of Britain and Europe. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd., London.
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