Poisonous flower discovered in park

Mike McKee

Mike McKee

First published in News by

POTENTIALLY poisonous flowers have been removed from Royal Wootton Bassett after being mistakenly planted by a group of Brownies.

Amateur photographer Mike McKee made the discovery after spotting the unusual looking red flowers last week in Jubilee Park.

His research showed they were corncockles, which were thought to have been eradicated from the UK but have been making a return in recent months.

Contact with the flower is potentially harmful. Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council fenced the area off before cutting back the plants.

“I first noticed them last Thursday and there were around 15 to 20 there in a group,” said Mike. “I had absolutely no idea what they were at first – I just saw them there and they looked a bit different.

“I looked in my flower book and it said these were scant and very rare, so I did a bit more research on them. When I Googled them I found out they could be deadly.

“They were thought to be extinct, but I believe the Royal Horticultural Society have been selling them in packets and distributing them throughout the UK because they are wild flowers.

“A lot of people want to see wild flowers back again but they don’t realise exactly what is in a packet of mixed seeds. There are probably other places around here where they have been planted, and people will just walk past without noticing a thing. It only gets really nasty if you touch them.”

Mike said the plants were discovered after a Brownie group had planted some new species of wild flower in the area.

“The 2nd Royal Wootton Bassett Brownies planted them and thought they had done a good deed by sowing some wild flowers in the area, but they must have got these things in some of the packets,” he said.

“You can see where they have cut them back, and that is the whole reason they were fencing the area off, to cut the flowers off before they could seed. Hopefully they should not come back again, and they have done the right thing by cutting them back.”

All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the flowers used to be a common feature of many wheat fields, with the seeds likely to have been found in most wheat harvests prior to the 20th century, before which the corncockle was a staple of folk medicine.

Comments (13)

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11:24am Mon 25 Aug 14

Chowmai says...

If we go around the countryside removing every poisonous plant there wont be much countryside left!
If we go around the countryside removing every poisonous plant there wont be much countryside left! Chowmai
  • Score: 22

11:32am Mon 25 Aug 14

Mumfriday says...

Does that mean we have to dig up our potatoes, rhubarb etc? There are plenty of poisonous plants both in gardens & the countryside. Let's have some common sense please!
Does that mean we have to dig up our potatoes, rhubarb etc? There are plenty of poisonous plants both in gardens & the countryside. Let's have some common sense please! Mumfriday
  • Score: 17

12:11pm Mon 25 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

I bet they earned a very special badge for that!
I bet they earned a very special badge for that! house on the hill
  • Score: -2

12:49pm Mon 25 Aug 14

loosewoman says...

Oh, for goodness sake! Yes, corn cockle is poisonous but only if you eat it. It's been growing happily in a meadow area in our village for years, and no-one has come to harm. Aren't there a host of far more dangerous and important things out there to get all worked up about?
Oh, for goodness sake! Yes, corn cockle is poisonous but only if you eat it. It's been growing happily in a meadow area in our village for years, and no-one has come to harm. Aren't there a host of far more dangerous and important things out there to get all worked up about? loosewoman
  • Score: 15

3:02pm Mon 25 Aug 14

toyota777 says...

When I was a kid they were everywhere nobody knew they were poisonous and nobody was harmed by them, they were a common meadow plant , now they're considered dangerous by the don't touch it health and safety goons.
When I was a kid they were everywhere nobody knew they were poisonous and nobody was harmed by them, they were a common meadow plant , now they're considered dangerous by the don't touch it health and safety goons. toyota777
  • Score: 11

3:39pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Hmmmf says...

Reading stories like this really does make you wonder how in sight of the sun the human race managed to survive and evolve over the last two million years.
Reading stories like this really does make you wonder how in sight of the sun the human race managed to survive and evolve over the last two million years. Hmmmf
  • Score: 10

4:08pm Mon 25 Aug 14

mrwoo says...

I have a very rare and deadly fungus growing in my underpants, but I don't get my pic in the adver?
I have a very rare and deadly fungus growing in my underpants, but I don't get my pic in the adver? mrwoo
  • Score: 3

4:52pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Alan Bast*rd says...

mrwoo wrote:
I have a very rare and deadly fungus growing in my underpants, but I don't get my pic in the adver?
Nah, that's an acorn.
[quote][p][bold]mrwoo[/bold] wrote: I have a very rare and deadly fungus growing in my underpants, but I don't get my pic in the adver?[/p][/quote]Nah, that's an acorn. Alan Bast*rd
  • Score: 7

10:29pm Mon 25 Aug 14

PJC says...

We used to have a Laburnum tree that hung over from a neighbours garden when I was a kid that dropped seed pods into ours. Our Dad said, "Don't put them in your mouth, they're poisonous.", so we didn't. Sorted....
We used to have a Laburnum tree that hung over from a neighbours garden when I was a kid that dropped seed pods into ours. Our Dad said, "Don't put them in your mouth, they're poisonous.", so we didn't. Sorted.... PJC
  • Score: 8

8:32pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Brickologist says...

Daffodil bulbs are deadly, as are Bluebells, as are Cuckoo Pint, as is Laurel... as are the poinsettia that we buy in their thousands every Christmas! What a dangerous world we live in, eh?

What a nonsense story...
Daffodil bulbs are deadly, as are Bluebells, as are Cuckoo Pint, as is Laurel... as are the poinsettia that we buy in their thousands every Christmas! What a dangerous world we live in, eh? What a nonsense story... Brickologist
  • Score: 0

9:53pm Tue 26 Aug 14

messyits says...

Columbines (aquilegia) carry deadly poison in their roots and seeds and are sold over the counter. Science tells me that cutting some of the above mentioned plants that are cut back will regrow and increase the poisons.
Columbines (aquilegia) carry deadly poison in their roots and seeds and are sold over the counter. Science tells me that cutting some of the above mentioned plants that are cut back will regrow and increase the poisons. messyits
  • Score: 0

11:13pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

Foxgloves are poisonous too.
Why the hysteria over Corncockle?
All this talk of "deadly to touch" is pure nonsense.
As of many plants, they're only poisonous if you try to eat them!!!
Even then, a healthy person would vomit most of the toxins out of their system ( thereby presenting any fatalities)
Anyway, at least it got Swindon Advertiser into The Guardian...
http://www.theguardi
an.com/lifeandstyle/
shortcuts/2014/aug/2
6/corncockle-country
file-bbc-packets-see
ds-poisonous
Foxgloves are poisonous too. Why the hysteria over Corncockle? All this talk of "deadly to touch" is pure nonsense. As of many plants, they're only poisonous if you try to eat them!!! Even then, a healthy person would vomit most of the toxins out of their system ( thereby presenting any fatalities) Anyway, at least it got Swindon Advertiser into The Guardian... http://www.theguardi an.com/lifeandstyle/ shortcuts/2014/aug/2 6/corncockle-country file-bbc-packets-see ds-poisonous Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: 0

11:59pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Perseus says...

Stamp them out
We must destroy them
They infiltrate each city
With their thick dark warning odour
Stamp them out We must destroy them They infiltrate each city With their thick dark warning odour Perseus
  • Score: 0
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