bobthebirder's picture

Corn Marigolds

Observed: 7th July 2009 By: bobthebirderbobthebirder’s reputation in Plantsbobthebirder’s reputation in Plantsbobthebirder’s reputation in Plantsbobthebirder’s reputation in Plants
corn marigolds

A field of corn marigolds on the beautiful island of Sark. How come these flowers are so common on the Scillies and Channel Islands (and generally in France) but so scarce in the UK mainland?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Corn Marigold (Chrysanthemum segetum) interacts


Jonathan's picture

I think the answer is that

I think the answer is that farmers on the UK mainland have used selective herbicides for a long time and this has really hammered nearly all the broad-leaved cornfield weeds. As you know, these weeds number disproportionately amongst our most threatened plants. Ironic when you consider that they depend upon humans for their habitat. Proof of the role of intensive agriculture can be found in the Broadbalk wheat experiment at Rothamsted. It is a big field with strips that have received different treatments to the wheat continuously for over 150 years. On the strip where there is no weed control you can find many species of threatened cornfield weeds. On other treatments they have gone.

University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

miked's picture

Although I suspect there are

Although I suspect there are no corn marigolds at broadbalk as they tend to prefer sandy soil. Corn marigolds do turn up from time to time on farmland on sandy soil or even building sites in Milton Keynes.

bobthebirder's picture

corn marigolds

Last year they turned up unexpectedly at roadside sites all around Weymouth. Each site was having some sort of work done by the council - I suspect they had a supply of topsoil they used that had come from a corn marigold site inland.

Bob Ford

Martin Sanford's picture

This species is often

This species is often included together with Cornflowers and Corncockle in seed mixes sown by local authorities to 'brighten up' roadside verges. As poor competitors, they all need regular disturbance to survive which rarely happens in these sites so they tend to die out after a few years.

Martin Sanford
Suffolk Biological Records Centre, Ipswich Museum, High St, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3QH