Scientific Name:
Agrostemma githago
Toxic Parts:
all, especially the seeds
saponins lectins
Flower Color:
fields, crops, waste areas, roadsides, railways, disturbed areas, cornfields

Geographical Distribution

Corn Cockle distribution - United States

Corn Cockle

Agrostemma githago

Corn Pink. Corn Campion. Ray. Nigella. Zizany. Darnel. Tare. Gith. Lychnis. Githage. Agrostemma. Pseudo-melanthium. Lolium, corn rose, purple cockle, crown-of-the-field
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Corn cockle ( Agrostemma githago) is a medium to tall biennial or annual wildflower with large pink to purple colored flowers. Each flower petal has two to three discontinuous black lines which come outward from the center. The leaves are pale green color, opposite, narrowly lanceolate, and held nearly upright against the stem that is covered with fine hairs. Corn cockle was originally native to Europe, but has been introduced to other regions worldwide, where it is considered a noxious weed that is known for invading crop fields, especially where corn and wheat grow.

Toxic components
All parts of corn cockle are poisonous to poultry, although the seeds contain the most toxins. The plant contains at least two toxic, saponin-like substances, githagin and agrostemmic acid. Eating 0.2 to 0.5% of a bird’s body weight of the corn cockle seed is lethal. Repeated consumption of small doses of corn cockle has also caused illness, which is referred to as githagism.