Melampyrum pratense L.

2887 (5). M. pratense L., Sp, Pl. ed, 1 (1753) 605; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. II (1929) 205; Şoó et Webb, Fl. Eur. III (1972) 256; M. pratense subsp. heracleoticum auct. Stoj., Stef., non Boiss. et Orph.— Ливадна гайтаника

Fam:   Scrophulariaceae Juss.
Genus:   Melampyrum L.
Species: Melampyrum pratense L.
English Name: Common cow-wheat


An annual plant. Stem 10 - 30 (50) cm high, erect, almost cylindrical at the base, obtuse quadrangular from the middle upwards, naked or covered at the top with short, scattered, directed downwards hairs, sometimes only 2 opposite longitudinal lines, straight or branched; branches 1 - 2 pairs, thin, obliquely directed upwards. Leaves 4 - 9 cm long, (3) 5 - 12 mm wide, ovate-lance, oblong-lance or linear-lance, narrowed at the base, gradually pointed at the apex, glabrous or scattered shortly fibrous on both sides, and short at the edge hard little fringes; lower and middle sat down, entire; the upper ones with 1 - 1.5 mm long petioles and at the base with 2 - 4 (6) teeth on the side. No intercalary leaves or 1 - 5 pairs. Flowers developing from III - IV node upwards. The inflorescence is loose, unilateral spike-shaped 2 - 7 cm long and about 1 cm wide cluster. Bracts green, leaf-like, flat, about 1.7 cm long and 2.5 - 4 mm wide; the lower ones are rounded at the base, usually entire; the middle and especially the upper ones are wider, often wedge-shaped narrowed at the base and with 2 - 4 teeth on each side. Flowers on 1 - 2 mm long petioles, at first upright, later horizontally arranged; calyx tubular, 7 - 8 mm long, glabrous, rarely along the veins and along the edge of the teeth with short hard hairs; teeth 4.5 - 5 mm long, about twice as long as the tube, the same. Corolla 1 - 1.8 (2) cm long, more or less closed, about twice as long as the calyx, lemon yellow or white, rarely the tube and lower lip with purple veins; the crown tube straight, equal to the calyx, upper lip strongly flattened on the side, velvety fibrous on the edge, the lower one slightly longer, slightly deviated from it. The ovary naked; the style curved upwards, 5 - 7 times longer than it. The box is 8 - 10 mm long, 4 - 5 mm wide, ovoid, short pointed, about 1/3 longer than the calyx, naked. Seeds oblong 5 - 6 mm long, about 2.5 mm wide, smooth.


1   Stem usually with long spreading or upward-pointing branches; intercalary leaves 1 - 5 pairs, rarely missing ................................. 2
1* Stem unbranched or with 1 - 2 pairs of short, upward-pointing sterile branches; without intercalary leaves ............. subsp. oligocladum (Beauv.) Şoó, Feddes Repert., XXIV (1927) 180; M, pratense var. oligocladum Beauv., Şoó. Soc. Phys. Hist. Nat. Geneva, XXXVIII, 6 (1916) 493; Стоян., Стеф., Китан., Фл. Бълг. изд. 4, II (1967), Middle Stara Planina (Etropole). Summer ecotype.
2   Flowers white, mostly lip yellow, developing from IV - VIII node (incl. Cotyledon node) upwards. Intercalary leaves 3 - 5 pairs ...... subsp. commutatum (Tausch ex Kern.) Britton, Trans. Proc. Bot. Soc.Edinb. XXXIII (1943) 371; M. commutatum Tausch ex Kern., Österr. Bot. Zeitschr. XX (1870) 271; M. pratense f. commutatum Beauv. ex Schinz et Kesch Fl. Schw. ed. 3 (1914) 306; Стоян., Стеф., Китан., op. c., 979, Widespread. Autumn ecotype.
2* Flowers yellow, developing from III - IV node upwards. Without or with 1 - 2 pairs of intercalary leaves .......…………… subsp. pretense; M. vulgatum Pars., Syn. II (1807) 151; M. Pratense subsp. vulgatum (Pers.) Ronn., Vierteljahr. Naturf. Ges. Zürich LV (1910) 320. Distributed. Mountain ecotype
3 Stem branched from the middle upwards; branches erect. Intercalary leaves 1 - 2 pairs ………………………..… f. pretense. Widespread.
3* The stem is branched from the base; the branches are arched. Without intercalary leaves ................………………………………. ……. 4
4 Leaves elliptically lanceolate, 8 - 15 mm wide ………. f. lanceolatum Spenn, Fl. Frib. II (1926) 367; M. pratense f. vulgatum Stoj., Stef. et Kitan., op. c. 979. Widespread.
4 * Leaves ovate-lanceolate, 2 - 3.5 cm wide …………….. f. ovatum Spenn .; Hayek, op. c., 206; Стоян., Стеф., Китан., 1. с. Distributed.

From:    „Флора на Република България”, том X, Академично издателство „Проф. Марин Дринов”, Б А Н, София, (1995)

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Melampyrum pratense, the common cow-wheat, is a plant species in the family Orobanchaceae.
The seed of the plant has an elaiosome, which is attractive to wood ants (Formica spp.). The ants disperse the seeds of the plant when they take them back to their nests to feed their young.[1] The plant is an ancient woodland indicator, as the ants rarely carry the seeds more than a few yards, seldom crossing a field to go to a new woodland.
Melampyrum pratense is a food plant of the caterpillars of the heath fritillary (Melitaea athalia), a butterfly.[2]
Melampyrum pratense herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea or externally as pillow filling for treatment of rheumatism and blood vessels calcification.
Melampyrum pratense can be parasitized by the oomycete species Peronospora tranzschelinana.[3]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Flowering Time: Blooms: V -  VII, fruitful: VII - IX.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Growing in forests, bushes and forest meadows in lowlands and mountains. Widespread, from sea level to 1600 m altitude. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: Europe, Southwest Asia.

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. - Biological Diversity Act -

Medical plant: no, it is not - Medicinal Plants Act -

References: „Флора на Република България”, том X, Академично издателство „Проф. Марин Дринов”, Б А Н, София, (1995), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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