All hail the little yellow rattle as Latvia's plant of the year

We have already reported on Latvia's insect of the year and bird of the year. The latest natural wonder to be placed in the spotlight during 2019 is 'mazais zvagulis' known in English as the little yellow rattle or hay rattle, and which has the Latin classification Rhinanthus minor.

The Latvian Botanical Society has named the yellow rattle its plant of the year, and the plants are a frequent sight across the country with their distinctive yellow flowers visible at the edge of the forest, in roadside verges, meadows and on fallow land from late May to September.  

Classed as a hemi-parasite, it was until recently regarded as something to be eradicated, but recent studies show it can play an important role in promoting biodiversity and now it is being actively cultivated in some areas.

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