Weed Seed: Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago)

Family

Caryophyllaceae

Synonyms

Lychnis githago

Distribution in Canada

Found in SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PE

Duration of life cycle

Annual or biennial

Seed/Fruit type

True seed

Seed identification features

Size

  • length: 2.5–3.0 mm
  • width: 2.5–3.0 mm

Shape

  • angular oval shape, often flattened on one side

Surface texture

  • covered in rows of raised tubercles (wart-like projections) that increase in height away from hilum

Colour

  • medium brown to dark brown

Other structures

  • hilum appears as an open hole, often with tissue inside
  • seed root and shoot outline are visible as a curved line that meets at the hilum

Similar species

Showy baby's-breath (Gypsophila elegans) and cow cockle (Vaccaria hispanica)

  • showy baby's-breath and cow cockle are found across Canada and the United States (showy baby's-breath is not known to be found in the Maritime provinces)
  • showy baby's-breath and cow cockle are similar to purple cockle (rounded shape, open hilum and dark colour)
  • showy baby's-breath and cow cockle are smaller than purple cockle by approximately 0.5–1.0 mm
  • showy baby's-breath has a smooth surface composed of raised cells, cow cockle has a densely warty surface, purple cockle has a surface that is covered in spikes

Species Comparison Chart

Species Size Surface Outline Colour
purple cockle 2.5–3.0 mm spikey oval dark brown
showy baby's-breath 1.5–2.5 mm smooth triangular brown
cow cockle 1.5–2.5 mm warty rounded black

Photos

Photo - Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seed (side view)
Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seed (side view)
Photo - Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seed (hilum view)
Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seed (hilum view)
Photo - Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seeds
Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seeds
Photo - Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seeds in capsule
Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seeds in capsule
Photo - Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seeds and capsule
Purple cockle (Agrostemma githago) seeds and capsule

Similar species

Photo - Seed of Showy baby's-breath (Gypsophila elegans)
Similar species: Seed of Showy baby's-breath (Gypsophila elegans)
Photo - Cow cockle (Vaccaria hispanica) seed (in edge view, showing hilum)
Similar species: Cow cockle (Vaccaria hispanica) seed (in edge view, showing hilum)
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