Rattle or Rhinanthus minor, photographed in Portmore Lough, south Lough Neagh in County Antrim in 26 May 2011.

Yellow rattle is a grassland annual with yellow, two lipped flowers, the upper lip with two white or (as in our photographs) purple teeth. Behind the flower the joined sepals inflate to form a green bladder sometimes tinged with red. Flowering occurs from May through to September followed by a seed capsule which rattles within the now brown and papery bladder. The majority of seed ripens in mid to late July and the rattling of the fruit within the bladder was said to indicate that the meadow was ready to be cut for hay, hence its other common name of hay rattle. For more details see this website.

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Last updated Thursday April 24, 2014