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Common Corn-cockle

Agrostemma githago

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, parks, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Purple, 5 petals
Trumpet-shaped, reddish-purple flowers, 5cm across. The flowers have 5 long, narrow sepal teeth which extend well beyond the petals. Pollinated by bees.
An egg-shaped capsule with numerous black seeds. The seeds ripen in August and September.
Softly hairy, long and narrow leaves, in opposite pairs along the stems. In the British Isles, Corn-cockle was once an abundant arable weed (in cornfields) and is now extinct in the wild but is often seen growing in wildflower mixtures. An annual flower.
The Common Corn-cockle has a subtle yet distinctive aroma. As you approach the blooming clusters of bright magenta or pink flowers, you may notice a delicate fragrance in the air. The scent is often described as sweet and slightly earthy, with floral undertones. While not overpowering, the fragrance contributes to the overall sensory experience of encountering this wildflower in its natural habitat.
Other Names:
Bastard Nigella, Corn Cockle, Corn Pink, Corncockle, Gith, Joy of Love, Little and Pretty, Purple Cockle, Wild Poppy.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Agrostemma githago, also known as common corn cockle or wild poppy, is a plant species in the Caryophyllaceae family. It is native to Europe, and is also found in parts of Asia and North America. Agrostemma githago is an annual herb with hairy stems and leaves and showy, pink or purple flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is often found growing in fields and other disturbed areas, and is considered a weed in many parts of the world. The seeds of the plant are toxic to humans and animals and can cause digestive and respiratory problems if ingested. Agrostemma githago is not typically grown as a garden plant, and efforts are often made to control its spread in agricultural areas.


Common Corn-cockle, also known as Agrostemma githago, is an annual wildflower that is native to Europe and Asia. It is often found growing in fields and along the roadsides, and it is well known for its beautiful and striking appearance.

The Common Corn-cockle is a tall and slender plant that can grow up to 100 cm in height. It has delicate, pink or purple flowers that bloom in the summer and early fall. Each flower has five petals that are arranged in a star-like shape and have a distinct markings in the center, which adds to its beauty.

One of the most interesting things about the Common Corn-cockle is its historical significance. In the past, it was commonly found growing in cornfields, which is where it got its name. However, as agriculture became more advanced, the use of pesticides and herbicides made the plant disappear from many fields. Today, it is considered an endangered species in many countries and is protected by law.

Aside from its beautiful appearance, the Common Corn-cockle has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It has been used to treat various ailments, such as skin rashes and chest pains, and it has also been used as a mild sedative.

Despite its declining numbers, the Common Corn-cockle can still be found in some parts of Europe and Asia. However, due to its endangered status, it is important that we take steps to protect this species and preserve its habitat. This can be done by avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides in areas where it grows, and by planting more of the species in fields and along roadsides.

The Common Corn-cockle is a beautiful and historically significant wildflower that deserves our attention and protection. By taking care of this species and preserving its habitat, we can ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy its beauty and experience its many benefits.

Another important aspect of the Common Corn-cockle is its role in the ecosystem. As a wildflower, it provides important habitat and food for various species of insects, birds, and small mammals. Its flowers are an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, and its seeds provide food for birds and other small animals.

In addition, the Common Corn-cockle is a good indicator of the health of the environment. The presence of this species in an area indicates that the soil is fertile and the environment is suitable for other species to grow and thrive. If the Common Corn-cockle begins to disappear from an area, it could be a sign of environmental problems such as soil degradation or pollution.

Despite its many benefits, the Common Corn-cockle is often overlooked and underappreciated. However, by raising awareness about this species and its importance, we can help to ensure its survival for future generations.

One way to raise awareness about the Common Corn-cockle is to plant more of the species in your own garden or in public spaces. This will not only help to increase the population of the species, but it will also provide opportunities for others to appreciate its beauty and learn about its importance.

Another way to help is to support conservation efforts that are focused on protecting the Common Corn-cockle and its habitat. This can include supporting organizations that work to protect wildflowers and their habitats, or participating in events and activities that raise awareness about the importance of this species.

In addition to planting more of the species in gardens and public spaces, another way to help preserve the Common Corn-cockle is to practice sustainable agriculture. This means using methods that reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides, and that promote soil health and fertility. When soil is healthy, it can support a diverse array of plant species, including the Common Corn-cockle.

Another way to help is to support research and study into the ecology and biology of the Common Corn-cockle. This can help us to understand more about the species, its habitat requirements, and how best to protect it.

One more way to help is to educate others about the Common Corn-cockle and its importance. This can include speaking with family and friends about the species, or participating in educational events and activities that raise awareness about wildflowers and their importance.

It is also important to remember that the Common Corn-cockle is just one of many species of wildflowers that are facing challenges due to habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. By taking action to protect this species, we can also help to protect other wildflowers and their habitats, and promote the overall health of our environment.

In conclusion, there are many ways that we can help to protect the Common Corn-cockle and preserve its habitat. From planting more of the species in our own gardens, to practicing sustainable agriculture and supporting research and conservation efforts, we can all play a role in ensuring that this beautiful and important species continues to thrive.

30 Facts About the Common Corn-cockle

  1. Scientific Name: Agrostemma githago.
  2. Family: Caryophyllaceae.
  3. Native Habitat: Europe and Asia.
  4. Introduction: Commonly introduced to North America as a contaminant in crop seeds.
  5. Height: Can grow up to 1 to 3 feet tall.
  6. Blooming Period: Typically blooms from late spring to early summer.
  7. Flower Color: Bright magenta or pink with five petals.
  8. Shape: Flowers have a cup-like shape.
  9. Leaves: Linear, lance-shaped leaves that are opposite on the stem.
  10. Toxicity: All parts of the plant are toxic if ingested.
  11. Historical Uses: Historically used in herbal medicine, but the plant's toxicity limits its use.
  12. Invasiveness: Considered a weed in many places due to its ability to outcompete other plants.
  13. Cultivation: Grows well in disturbed areas, fields, and along roadsides.
  14. Seed Production: Produces numerous seeds in a single growing season.
  15. Seed Characteristics: Black, round seeds with a pitted surface.
  16. Soil Preference: Prefers well-drained, sandy soils.
  17. Drought Tolerance: Exhibits some drought tolerance.
  18. Sun Requirements: Thrives in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
  19. Attracts Pollinators: Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers.
  20. Seed Dispersal: Seeds are primarily dispersed by wind.
  21. Biennial Plant: Completes its life cycle in two years.
  22. Reproduction: Primarily reproduces through seeds.
  23. Competitive Advantage: Can outcompete crops for nutrients and water.
  24. Conservation Concerns: Can be problematic in agricultural settings and conservation areas.
  25. Allelopathy: May release chemicals inhibiting the growth of other plants.
  26. Herbicide Resistance: Some populations have developed resistance to certain herbicides.
  27. Cultural Significance: Mentioned in literature and folklore as a symbol of love and attraction.
  28. Biological Control: Some insects and pathogens help control Corn-cockle populations.
  29. Impact on Crops: Can reduce crop yields and quality if not managed.
  30. Environmental Impact: Considered invasive in several countries, impacting native plant communities.


Common Corn-cockle filmed in Adlington, Lancashire on the 11th June 2023, 11th July 2023 and 25th September 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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