This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Though one of the Arctic plants. Yellow Rattle is not represented at present in ancient deposits. It ranges throughout the Arctic and Temperate X. zones in Arctic Europe. X. Asia, and X. America. It is found, moreover, throughout Great Britain as far north as the Shet-lands. and ascends to 2500 ft. in the Highlands. It is found in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
No plant is more typical of low-lying meadow land than Yellow Rattle, for when grass is laid to hay in spring and early summer it is one of the commonest of flowers. To the farmer, as with Rest Harrow, it is a sign of rough and poor pasture. It grows mainly on wet clayey ground, along with Plantains. Cat's Ear, Dog Daisy, Early Purple Orchis, and other plants of the valleys.
This is an erect plant, either simple or branched, with a square stem, spotted with black or brown, and smooth.
The leaves are opposite, distant, stalkless, narrowly elliptical, heart-shaped, blunt-veined, smooth, net-veined, toothed, the notches nearly rolled inwards from the back. The second Latin name refers to their shape, like a cock's comb, or possibly to the calyx.