Corn marigold Chrysanthemum segetum

"..an yll wede, and groweth commonlye in barleye and pees"- Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, ‘Boke of husbandrie’ 1523 

Description

Although the bright yellow flowers of the corn marigold were once abundant in cornfields throughout Britain, it is not a true native, but was probably introduced in ancient times with grain.

How to spot it

Of medium height, the flowers, which are yellow discs with prominent ray florets, are borne singly on the ends of the stems.  The leaves are deeply toothed, slightly fleshy, lobed, hairless and covered with a waxy layer that gives them a greenish blue colour.

Where it grows

Most often found as an arable weed, but it can also be found on other disturbed sites such as rubbish tips, road verges, waste ground and even over-grazed pasture.

Best time to see

In flower June to August

How's it doing?

It was a serious weed in Victorian times, but is now much reduced due to improved seed cleaning, liming, herbicides and the shift to autumn-sown crops. Much of this decline has taken place since 1930.

3 things you might not know

  • It is a good plant for bees, butterflies and moths, and is the food plant of the Chamomile Shark Moth.
  • In the east the young shoots are eaten as a vegetable, particularly in China.
  • It  was a familiar sight in 16th Century English gardens.