Shock! Horror! Hidden Killer Exposed!


Always knew it was a weed. One that can bring pain and possibly death to livestock. Been aware ogf it since I was a little boy. My grandfather taught me. Always loved those football-scarf caterpillars that feast on it, but have always been seriously prejudiced against it. My grandfather would pick up groundsel, chickweed, dandelion and feed them to the hens or the rabbit. But ragwort he would pull up and burn on the spot!

But, reading the Express and Star this evening I find that, although rather smug in my supposed knowledge of plants I have been providing succour for an even greater threat.

Corn cockle.

I had to read the article – which said that every part of the plant, a simple beautiful pink flower on statuesque stalks, is toxic – several times, find a credible source and check it out on the internet. True enough: it can cause severe pain and even death (within ten minutes)if ingested.

Yet, for years I have been growing these in my garden and in the wildflower patch up at the allotment.

Goes to show: we all have something new to learn.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Not sure why you would want to eat Corn Cockle, but this piece on The Poison Garden blog puts the story into perspective:


    • Thanks for the link, very interesting botanical detail.
      Just fancy, so hard to imagine the press getting so excited and blowing a story out of all proportion.
      Any ragwort on the plot I add to the compost heap (it’s not a good ingredient in hay, that’s for sure) and the corn cockles are safe in my garden..


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