Adirondack Wildflowers:  Cow-wheat (Melampyrum lineare) at the Paul Smiths VIC (18 July 2012)

Adirondack Wildflowers:
Cow-wheat (Melampyrum lineare)

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Cow-wheat blooming at the Paul Smiths VIC (18 July 2012) Wildflowers of the Adirondacks: Cow-wheat blooming at the Paul Smiths VIC (18 July 2012)

Cow-wheat is a native Adirondack wildflower that produces small, tubular whitish flowers with a yellow tip. The flowers resemble a snake's head. The leaves of Cow-wheat are 3/4 to 2.5 inches long. The plant usually grows 6 to 18 inches tall. The genus name (Melampyrum) is from the Greek for "black" and "wheat" and refers to the black seeds which are found in some species.

Cow-wheat grows in dry to moist woods, bogs, and rocky barrens in much of eastern North America, as well as Montana, Idaho, and Washington. In New York State, it has been documented in about half of the counties within the Adirondack Park Blue Line, including Franklin County (home of the Paul Smiths VIC). The plants are said to be partially parasitic on the roots of other plants

Cow-wheat does not appear to have played a major role in Native American medicine, although an infusion of the plant was reportedly used by one Indian tribe as an eye medicine.

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Cow-wheat in bloom at the Paul Smiths VIC (22 July 2012)Wildflowers of the Adirondacks: Cow-wheat in bloom at the Paul Smiths VIC (10 July 2012)

Cow-wheat is found on several of the trails at the Paul Smiths VIC, including the Heron Marsh Trail, the Boreal Life Trail, and the Barnum Brook Trail. Cow-wheat usually begins blooming at the Paul Smiths VIC in July.

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Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.