Yellow or Hay Rattle is an extraordinary annual wild flower which grows in meadows and verges of medium to low fertility. It is a semi-parasite on meadow species, whilst still photosynthesising for itself. In partially using other plants, especially grasses, it suppresses their growth. In this way it helps with the establishment of other wild flowers. Populations cycle every 3-5years depending on the health of the parasitised grasses. It thrives in mown or grazed meadows where it should be allowed to seed itself in July. Sow sparsely into short grassland in Aug-Dec to allow for the 3month period of cold needed for germination. Sowing the seed into bare patches of soil gives better germination.
In the third picture, the foreground has the Yellow rattle whereas the back of the orchard, under the trees, does not.(Sandham Memorial Chapel, Berkshire)
Seed from Shropshire