Today I have been volunteering at Saltholme Wildlife Reserve & Discovery Park and helping to sow Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) on the reserves meadow (which is located close-by to the wildlife watchpoint hide).
Yellow rattle is a semi-parasitic annual wild flower – meaning it derives some, or all, of its sustenance from a host (but also contains chlorophyll and is capable of photosynthesis).
Yellow rattle is native to the UK and can be found in a wide range of grassland habitats.
Research at the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has shown that encouraging Yellow Rattle to grow in hay meadows greatly increases biodiversity by restricting grass growth and thereby allowing other species to thrive
By using the semi-parasitic attributes of Yellow Rattle, the project aims to restrict grass growth and increase the variety of wild flowers in the meadow.