A Yellow New Year

Celebrating a year of my site with some yellow.

I was wondering what these plants were that were appearing in my rather small 1 meter square “wild meadow”. Now they’re in flower I can see they are Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor, #502), which germinated very well from a few seeds I found in my pocket after a walk in the Cotswolds last autumn, dropped on the ground and then forgot about. Yellow Rattle is an interesting plant as it is a partial parasite of grasses, its roots attaching to those of the grass and taking a big cut of the water and nutrients the grass has absorbed. This is very beneficial as it stunts the grass, keeping it low and enabling other meadow flowers also to thrive.

The small yellow/orange fly with spotted wings is Meiosimyza decempunctata (#485), so named because of the 10 spots on its wings. Its larvae live among the dead leaves on the ground. The other yellow fly is a Large Rose Sawfly (Arge pagana, #217); the first I’ve seen this year. Not surprisingly is was in my climbing rose.