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Agrostemma githago - L.

Common Name Corncockle, Common corncockle
Family Caryophyllaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The seed and leaves are poisonous, containing saponin-like substances[4, 19, 76]. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats A weed of cornfields, becoming very rare in the wild due to modern agricultural practises[13, 17].
Range Europe. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Agrostemma githago Corncockle, Common corncockle


Agrostemma githago Corncockle, Common corncockle
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Agrostemma githago is a ANNUAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Githago segetum. Lychnis githago.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Leaves - cooked[22, 46, 61, 177]. A famine food, used when all else fails[183]. Some caution is advised - see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Diuretic  Expectorant  Homeopathy  Vermifuge

The seed is diuretic, expectorant and vermifuge[4, 13, 222]. Minute amounts are used medicinally[222]. It has a folk history of use in the treatment of cancer, warts etc[222]. The plant is not used in allopathic medicine, but it has been found efficacious in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice if used for long enough[4]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity. A homeopathic remedy has been made from the seeds[4]. It has been found useful in the treatment of paralysis and gastritis[4].

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most soils. Prefers a rich soil[133]. Prefers a well-drained not too fertile soil and a sunny position[200]. Plants are hardy to between -15 to -20°c[200]. Corncockle usually self-sows freely so long as there is some disturbed ground[K].

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks. The seed has a short viability[134]. Eighteen month old seed germinated freely with us[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive in Arkansas (corncockle) Noxious weed. South Carolina (corn cockle) Plant pest. [1c]

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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