Messicole plants

Messicole plants flower at harvest time in winter cereal fields (wheat, barley, oat, rye): field poppy, matricaria, corn cockle, cornflowers, but also field gladiolus

For centuries, these plants have been present in cereal fields, but they have declined significantly since the second half of the 20th century because of herbicides and mechanization of agriculture.

Messicole plants are an important food source for many species, and especially for the Eurasian skylark which, during winter, feeds on seeds of dozens of wild plant species (and not on grains of cereals). Every skylark must eat about 8 grams per day (that is to say 4200-5600 seeds) to cover its food needs. That’s why this bird is dependant on fields which are rich in wild and messicole plants, that is to say which are not treated with herbicides.

 

Coquelicot (Papaver rhoeas)

Corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Bleuet des champs (Centaurea cyanus)

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

Nielle des blés (Agrostemma githago)

Corn cockle (Agrostemma githago)

Glaïeul des moissons (Gladiolus italicus)

Photo credits: G. Normand and H. Normand