Yellow Rattle Seeds (Rhinanthus minor)
The rarest thing we sell -- and potentially the most amazing.
Dubbed the "meadow maker" in the UK, yellow rattle is an amazing hemi-parasitic annual plant that weakens grasses through haustoria (root-like structures that attach themselves to the roots of grasses -- robbing them of nutrients). This reduces the vigor of meadow grasses, and allows other wildflowers to gain a competitive advantage.
In European wildflower restoration, a tremendous amount of work is currently underway to better understand and harness yellow rattle to reduce grasses and increase wildflower dominance. The results, at their best, are spectacular!
Yellow rattle is a circumpolar plant -- distributed across parts of the Northern Hemisphere, however it is rare or absent across most of North America. Outside of Alaska and Canada, only the Pacific Northwest has a few scarce, remnant populations of this amazing, bumble bee-pollinated meadow plant. We're beyond excited to offer this.
Our packets are relatively small in size (around 200 seeds) due to the rarity and extensive hand harvesting we put into this plant. However, it's enough for anyone to experiment with on a small scale. Under optimal conditions, yellow rattle is a good re-seeder and will increase in numbers over time.
Our understanding of yellow rattle is evolving, but here's some basics of what we know:
- Only sow into areas of established vegetation. Yellow rattle does well with weedy grasses but it can also use a few wildflowers as hosts, including yarrow and lupines. Don't worry, it doesn't seem to cause much harm to wildflowers.
- To prepare an area for yellow rattle seed, mow it as low as possible. Then mow it again. And again. The closer to the ground you can mow, and the more thatch you can remove, the better.
- Plant it in August. Don't wait for the fall rains, and don't artificially cold stratify yellow rattle.
- Yellow rattle needs full sun. No exceptions. Nope. None.
Watch for this fascinating plant the following May, and let us know how it works for you. If our farming efforts with this succeed, we'll have a lot more of this great plant available in the future.
0.5 grams (Approximately 200 seeds).