Flowers: small; solitary; axillary. Calyx: bell-shaped; four-cleft. Corolla: tubular; two-lipped, the upper lip arched, the lower one three-lobed. Stamens: four. Pistil: one. Leaves: opposite; lanceolate or narrower; the upper sparingly tipped with bristles. Stem: six to twelve inches high; erect; branching.
Cow-wheat is so named because the Dutch at one time cultivated it as food for their cattle; and the Greek generic name, Melampyrum, meaning black wheat, refers to the colour of the seeds when mixed with other grain. The plant is very common in our open woods, and is not particularly attractive.