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Agrostemma githago (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
Agrostemma githago (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

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Zone
Zones 1-24
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate
Toxicity
all parts are poisonous if ingested

Agrostemma githago

Corn Cockle
Caryophyllaceae
Annuals, Flowers

An attractive weed of roadsides and grain fields, this Mediterranean species has naturalized in North America. Several varieties are superior plants; they grow to 2–3 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide and are wispy but sturdy. (Like the species, they will self-sow.) Blooms are 2–3 in. wide, on 6–12-in. stems; they make good cut flowers. ‘Milas’ has deep purplish pink blossoms lined and spotted in deep purple; centered with a white eye. ‘Purple Queen’ bears deeper purple-pink blooms. ‘Ocean Pearl’ has white flowers with black flecks.

Sow seeds in spring or early summer for summer and fall bloom (or in fall for bloom from winter to spring in mild-winter climates). Mass at rear of border or in front of fence in fast-draining soil. Provide regular light waterings until established, then taper off irrigation. Then water only when the plants appear drought stressed. They will reseed year after year in the same spot. Over time, self-sown seedlings of varieties tend to revert to dark pink–flowered, plain species.

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