Wild flowers of Latvia: Cow-wheat

Latvia's colorful meadows are home to a great number of wild flowers that would be the envy of many other countries, and there's no better time of the year to explore them than the time leading to the midsummer celebration. Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll publish a Latvian Radio strand dedicated to Latvia's wild flowers.

Several plants of the Melampyrum (cow-wheat) genus are found in Latvia. By far the most common are the common cow-wheat and the wood cow-wheat.

Botanist Agnese Priede tells Latvian Radio the wood cow-wheat is sometimes called the 'true midsummer herb'. It is usually found at the sides of meadows.

Meanwhile the common cow-wheat is often found in pine forests.

Photo: The common cow-wheat.

These hemiparasitic plants can produce but a part of the nutrients they need. 

The wood cow-wheat (confusingly called the meadow cow-wheat in Latvian) has a violet crown and sprouts bright yellow flowers around midsummer. It is one of the most colorful plants found in Latvia.

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