• ProjectsGrassland Bird Ecology and ConservationNew England Grassland AmbassadorsYellow Rattle

    Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

    Yellow rattle is a parasitic plant native to Europe.


    Philip Goddard Yellow Rattle

    Yellow Rattle © Philip Goddard

    Dried yellow rattle seed pods © Didier Descouens.

    What: Yellow rattle is easily distinguishable by its yellow, rattle-like flowers. Once dead, the seed pods turn brown and the seeds rattle around within.

    They can form dense patches that kill grass within one season.

    Where: Seeds may hitch a ride to a new field via haying equipment. Seeds fall of equipment and may be most prevalent near where field equipment is stored or field perimeters.



    • Hay early and heavily for 2 or 3 years. Although annual plants, their seeds may stay viable in the soil for several seasons. Preventing them from going to seed reduces the spread and seedbank. If caught early, it is possible to only heavily hay the afflicted areas while still delaying mowing a section of your field.

    • Wash field equipment toughly when moving from one field to another, especially if a field is known to host any invasives.

    A heavy infestation of yellow rattle © Charlotte Bill.

    Distribution of Yellow Rattle. Green = native, purple = introduced. © Amitchell125