Facilitating grassland diversification using the hemiparasitic plant Rhinanthus minor

  • Published source details Pywell R.F., Bullock J.M., Walker K.J., Coulson S.J., Gregory S.J. & Stevenson M.J. (2004) Facilitating grassland diversification using the hemiparasitic plant Rhinanthus minor. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41, 880-887.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Sow seeds of parasitic species (e.g. yellow rattle)

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Sow seeds of parasitic species (e.g. yellow rattle)

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1998–2002 in improved grassland in Oxfordshire, UK (Pywell et al. 2004) found that sowing seeds of the parasitic plant yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor along with seeds of grassland forbs increased plant species richness. Species richness was higher in areas where yellow rattle had been sown with seeds of other plants (4.2–5.8 species/plot) than in areas where no seeds of yellow rattle were sown (1.4–1.8 species/plot). In December 1998, five blocks each with four 10 × 10 m plots were established, and livestock allowed to graze the site after which they were removed. In three plots in each block, yellow rattle seeds were sown at a rate of 0.1–2.5 kg/ha, while in one plot no yellow rattle seeds were sown. In October 2000, seeds of 10 forb species were sown in all plots at a rate of 5 kg/ha. Hay was cut every year in July and the field was grazed in autumn by cattle or sheep at a rate of 35–50 animals/ha. In June 2001 and 2002, vegetation was surveyed using seven to ten 1 × 1 m quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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