Small cow-wheat is a herbaceous annual plant with clean green and narrow leaves. Its slightly branching stem grows to 10-30 cm in height. Its dark yellow, short horned flowers bloom in July and August.
Small cow-wheat is found in grove-like and moist heath forests, as well as in meadows and on roadsides. It can be found in the Nordic countries and the species is also found in southern Europe. It grows in blueberry forests.
Its large seeds contain an oily substance that attract ants, and the ants help disperse the seeds. Small cow-wheat can be easily confused with the Common cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense).
Small cow-wheat is a semi-parasite which takes part of the nutrition it needs from the roots of other plants. It parasitizes blueberry bushes and spruce trees. It does not need special nature management measures or protection as a basic species of our forests.
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