Corn wheel

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Corn wheel
Corn wheel (Agrostemma pallida), illustration

Corn wheel ( Agrostemma pallida ), illustration

Order : Clove-like (Caryophyllales)
Family : Carnation family (Caryophyllaceae)
Subfamily : Caryophylloideae
Tribe : Sileneae
Genre : Corn wheels ( Agrostemma )
Type : Corn wheel
Scientific name
Agrostemma pallida

The corn wheel ( Agrostemma githago ), more precisely common corn wheel , is a species of plant that belongs to the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). It is probably originally from the Mediterranean region. As a field herb , which is rarely found in Central Europe because of its toxicity and modern agriculture with seed cleaning, it is one of the endangered plant species. Further German trivial names for the Kornrade are Ackerrade , Ackerkrone , Kornnelke and Kornrose ; in Low German it is also called Klockenblume and on the Rhine Pisspöttken . The garden shape is also referred to simply as a wheel .


Blossom from the side

Appearance and leaf

The corn wheel is an annual herbaceous plant and reaches heights of growth of usually 60 to 90 (50 to 100) centimeters. The spindle-shaped taproot can be up to 90 cm long. The above-ground parts of the plant are pressed down with shaggy gray-felt hair. The upright stem has hardly any, if any, branches only in the upper area, sometimes a few side branches.

The leaves are arranged opposite one another on the stem. The simple leaf blade is linear with a length of 4 to 13 centimeters and a width of 2 to 10 millimeters, narrow linear-lanceolate with a somewhat overgrown base and a pointed upper end as well as a raised central nerve.

Generative characteristics

The flowering period extends from June to August. The flower stalks are very long. The mostly hermaphrodite flowers are radially symmetrical and five-fold with a double flower envelope . The five 3 to 6 centimeters long sepals are fused into a 1.2 to 1.5 centimeter long tube with shaggy hair on the outside and the 2 to 3, rarely up to 4 centimeters long, calyx tips are longer than the petals. The five 3 to 3.6 centimeters long petals are nailed white, narrow-wedge-shaped and the purple-violet to pink, obovate crown tongues have a slightly edged upper end. There is no secondary crown. The ten stamens protrude from the corolla. The ovary is unicameral. The five free, hairy styles tower above the corolla.

The fruits ripen between July and September. The egg-shaped, septicidal capsule fruit opens with five teeth and contains many seeds. With a length of 1.2 to 1.8 centimeters, the capsule fruit is only slightly longer than the calyx. The black seeds are egg-shaped to kidney-shaped with raised, pointed warts, with a length of 2.5 to 3 millimeters.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 24 or 4n = 48.


The corn wheel is a winter annual, hibernating green, scleromorphic, mesomorphic therophyte . As a field weed in grain , it is ideally adapted to its location. The leafy sepals protrude from the grain with the flowers and are used for photosynthesis . The seeds are usually only released during threshing. The species has roots up to 85 centimeters deep.

From an ecological point of view, it is a matter of "plate flowers". The corn wheel is therefore gyno: the flowers are mostly hermaphroditic, but there are also purely female specimens. Pollinators are butterflies .

The spread of the seeds is highly dependent on people. Because the capsules are narrowed at the top, the large seeds are often only released when the wall is weathered or destroyed during threshing . Before the introduction of modern methods of seed production, the seeds could hardly be separated from the grain because of their similar size and were therefore sown again. As an exception, capsules were found in Hessen that open when the fruit is ripe .


All parts of the plant are highly poisonous. Three to five grams of the seeds are considered toxic. Due to the toxicity of the seeds, the grain wheel was for a long time a "dreaded field weed" because the cleaning of the grain was insufficient. Poisoning is very rare today; In addition, the grain wheel has almost been eradicated as a field weed thanks to modern seed processing.

The main active ingredients are saponins such as githagin and its aglycon githagenin , as well as agrostemic acid .

Occurrence and culture

The grain wheel is believed to be native to the eastern Mediterranean. According to other authors, it is native to Europe, the temperate zones of Asia and North Africa. In North and South America, in Australia, on the Canary Islands and in southern Africa, the corn wheel is a neophyte . It was found frequently in grain fields, fallow land and wasteland since Roman times. The corn wheel is dependent on spreading with seeds . The chain of spread has been interrupted by modern seed cleaning ( trieur ). The grain wheel is classified as safe in Central Europe. In 1996, the grain wheel in Germany was rated as critically endangered on the Red List of Threatened Species .

The Kornrade thrives best on dry soils that are moderately alkaline and nitrogenous . It thrives in companies of the Secalietea class.

After the corn wheel itself was no longer available in botanical collections as teaching material for phytomedicine students , this species has been searched for and found all over the world. It is now even available in seed shops. It is easy to grow in a wide range of ecophysiological conditions, including in an ornamental garden. There is a white culture.

Flower of the year

The grain wheel was chosen as flower of the year 2003 by the Hamburg Nature Conservation Foundation and the Loki Schmidt Foundation for the protection of endangered plants .


The first publication of Agrostemma githago was carried out in 1753 by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum , 1, p 435. A synonym for Agrostemma githago L. is Lychnis githago (L.) Scop.

Prehistoric finds

The first evidence of the grain wheel in Germany comes from the funnel cup period ( Walternienburg-Bernburg culture ) wall chamber grave Kreienkopp near Ditfurt am Harz . In the early Neolithic it was unknown as a weed, probably because it was a winter seed weed . In England three references from the containment of Long Stones Field originate Avebury ( Wiltshire ); but since little evidence is otherwise known from pre-Roman times, Ruth Pelling et al. contamination from later layers is possible. In France, Bronze Age remains (Bronze IIa) come from the Baume Layrou ( Trèves , Gard ) in the Trèvezel valley in Languedoc.


The plant names listed in the herbal books of antiquity, late antiquity and the Middle Ages can only be assigned very uncertainly to the plant species known to us.

  1. Melanthion or melaspermon or git in Pedanios Dioskurides , Pliny and Galen
  2. Lychnis agria at Pedanios Dioscurides
  3. Lolium at Galen
  • Arab Middle Ages: In Arabic sources or in their Latin translations, the name melanthion and git the name nigella were added. Avicenna also described a grain called zinzania , which was later interpreted as a grain wheel .
  • Latin Middle Ages and modern times: In the 11th century, the grain wheel was first reliably detectable under the names lolium and nigella . In the Macer floridus (11th century) and with the same content in the older German Macer (13th century), only the external use of the corn wheel was described:

"Nigella - Guess that. Nigella means guessing too well. Rates dosed with merretiche vnde wenic ſalzes, cures vlechtende ſer vnde cancrum. Cancer is one of those people who have a lot of holes in them as dielsucht. The advice with ſwebele vnde with tubenmiſte vnde with lylien ſame geſoten in ſtarchem wine, vnde alſo a plaſter vf di boſen druſen escort, distributed ſi. The same vf di ſwern escort breaks ſi. The plater gives way to all sorts of bulges. The guess geſoten with wirouche vnde with ſidinvar vnde with mulſa, eight part waſſerz, the nunde honic, vnde vf that guide you, distribute ſcyasim, di ſwlst on the dieche. The ſwanger wip, vnderrouchet ſi ſich with the advice to the right zit, ſi gebirt ane ſwill. "

- Bernhard Schnell , William Crossgrove : The German> Macer <. Vulgate version. With the imprint of the Latin Macer Floridus> De viribus herbarum <. Issued critically.
In the 14th century, Konrad von Megenberg described the poisonous effect of the corn wheel in his book of nature : "... whoever eats the herb ſâmen, he makes him drunk and vnſinnich."
In 1479 , Vitus Auslasser reproduced the grain wheel under the names Zyzania , Ratem and Prawn korn pluem . In the small distilling book , Hieronymus Brunschwig recommended using the whole plant collected in May to produce a distillate from the grain. He gave the following indications for this distillate: A paralysis (“dwindling of the glider”). B Migraine (“nail in the eye”). C fistulas
The fathers of botany ( Otto Brunfels , Hieronymus Bock and Leonhard Fuchs ) only briefly described the plant and were very reluctant to recommend applications. The toxicology of the plant was researched in the 19th century .

Historical illustrations


  • Lu Dequan, Magnus Lidén, Bengt Oxelman: Agrostemma. Agrostemma pallida. In: Wu Zhengyi, Peter H. Raven, Deyuan Hong (Eds.): Flora of China. Volume 6 - Caryophyllaceae through Lardizabalaceae , Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis, 2001, ISBN 1-930723-05-9 , p. 100.
  • John W. Thieret: Agrostemma. Agrostemma pallida. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Ed.): Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 5: Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae, part 2. Oxford University Press, New York / Oxford 2005, ISBN 0-19-522211-3 :
  • Ruprecht Düll , Herfried Kutzelnigg : Pocket dictionary of plants in Germany and neighboring countries. The most common Central European species in portrait. 7th, corrected and enlarged edition. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-494-01424-1 .
  • Lutz Roth, Max Daunderer, Kurt Kormann: Poison Plants - Plant Poisons. Occurrence, effect, therapy, allergic and phototoxic reactions. With a special section about poisonous animals. 6th, revised edition. Special edition. Nikol, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-86820-009-6 .
  • AWM van Hasselt: General poison theory and the poisons of the plant kingdom. After the 2nd edition from the Dutch freely edited and provided with additions by JB Henkel. Braunschweig 1862, pp. 469-471.
  • Louis Lewin: Poisons and Poisonings. 6th edition. Berlin 1928, pp. 649-650. (Reprint: Haug, Heidelberg 1992)
  • Agrostemma githago L., Korn-Rade. In:


Individual evidence

  1. a b Agrostemma githago L., Korn-Rade. In:
  2. ^ Margot Schubert: At home in the garden. VLB, 1979, p. 190.
  3. a b c Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . With the collaboration of Angelika Schwabe and Theo Müller. 8th, heavily revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 , pp. 360 .
  4. ^ Cécile Brun: Biodiversity changes in highly anthropogenic environments (cultivated and ruderal) since the Neolithic in eastern France. In: The Holocene. 19/6, 2009, p.867
  5. ^ A b Agrostemma in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  6. First publication scanned at .
  7. ^ Agrostemma githago at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  8. Monika Hellmund: The Neolithic records of Onopordum acanthium, Agrostemma githago, Adonis cf. aestivalis and Claviceps purpurea in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. In: Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. Volume 17, Supplement 1, Dec 2008, p. 125. doi: 10.1007 / s00334-008-0180-8
  9. Monika Hellmund: The Neolithic records of Onopordum acanthium, Agrostemma githago, Adonis cf. aestivalis and Claviceps purpurea in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. In: Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. Volume 17, Supplement 1, Dec 2008, p. 126. doi: 10.1007 / s00334-008-0180-8
  10. ^ R. Young: Archaeobotanical material. In: Mark Gillings, Josh Pollard, D. Wheatley, R. Peterson (Eds.): Landscapes of the megaliths: excavation and fieldwork on the Avebury monuments, 1997-2003 . Oxbow Books, Oxford 2008, pp. 44-45.
  11. Ruth Pelling, Gill Campbell, Wendy Carruthers, Kath Hunter, Peter Marshall: Exploring contamination (intrusion and residuality) in the archaeobotanical record: case studies from central and southern England. In: Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. Volume 24, 2015, p. 85.
  12. Laurent Bouby, Gilbert Fages, Jean Michel Treffort: Food storage in two Late Bronze Age caves of Southern France: palaeoethnobotanical and social implications. In: Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. 14, 2005, p. 317.
  13. ^ Otto Brunfels : Contrafayt Kreüterbůch . Strasbourg 1532, foreword, chapter 19 (digitized version) - Henry E. Sigerist : Studies and texts on early medieval recipe literature. Barth, Leipzig 1923, foreword, SV - Charles Singer : The herbal in antiquity . In: The journal of hellenistic studies. Volume 47 (1927), pp. 1-52. - Brigitte Hoppe: Hieronymus Bock's book of herbs. Scientific historical investigation. With a list of all plants in the work, the literary sources of the medicinal indications and the uses of the plants. Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1969 - Gundolf Keil : Phytotherapy and medical history . In: Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie, Volume 6 (1985), pp 172-178 et al
  14. Julius Berendes : Des Pedanios Dioskurides medicine theory in 5 books. Enke, Stuttgart 1902, Volume III, Cap. 83: melanthion (digitized version ) ; Volume III, Cap. 105: lychnis agria (digitized version )
  15. Pliny the Elder : Naturalis historia . Book XX, § 182-184: melanthium (Chapter LXXI) (digitized Latin) ; Edition Külb 1840–1864 (digitized German)
  16. ^ Galen : De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis ac facultatibus , lib. VII, cap. XII / 7 (Kühn edition, Volume XII, p. 69): melanthium (digital copy ) ; De alimentorum facultatibus , lib. I, cap. 37 (Kühn edition, Volume VI, p. 551): lolium (digitalisat) ; De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis ac facultatibus , lib. V, cap. 10 (Kühn edition, Volume XI, p. 816): Lolium (digitized version)
  17. Avicenna : Canon of Medicine . Edition Andrea Alpago, Basel 1556, Book II, p. 277, nigella digitalisat ; Book II, p. 322: zizania (digitized version )
  18. Constantine the African in his Latin translation of the book Liber de gradibus simplicium by Ibn Al Jazzar . Constantine the African . Opera . Print edition Basel 1536, p. 375: nigella (digitized version )
  19. Approximately instans . 12th century print. Venice 1497, sheet 199v: git (digital copy ) ; Sheet 204v: nigella (digitized version )
  20. Pseudo-Serapion . 13th century print. Venice 1497, sheet 145r: nigella (digitized)
  21. lichen-like widening ulcers
  22. and also heals pathological color changes on the face
  23. Silk color - saffron
  24. Honey preparation with water
  25. On the thigh
  26. Sciatic pain
  27. without complaints
  28. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2003, p. 343.
  29. ^ Heidelberg, Cpg 226 , Alsace, 1459-1469, sheet 188v (digitized version ) .
  30. Hildegard von Bingen , 12th century, Physica , Book I, Chapter 12: Radte. Edition. Charles Victor Daremberg and Friedrich Anton Reuss (1810-1868). S. Hildegardis Abbatissae Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum Creaturarum Libri Novem. Migne, Paris 1855. Sp. 1133 (digitized version) ; Book I, Chapter 153: Gout. Edition. Charles Victor Daremberg and Friedrich Anton Reuss (1810-1868). S. Hildegardis Abbatissae Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum Creaturarum Libri Novem. Migne, Paris 1855. Sp. 1190 (digitized)
  31. Franz Pfeiffer . Konrad von Megenberg : The book of nature. Aue, Stuttgart, 1861, V / 89: Zizania (digitized)
  32. Vitus Auslasser : Herbarius , 1479, BSB Clm 5905, sheet 231: Zyzania, ratem, prawn kornpluem (digitized version )
  33. Herbarius Moguntinus . Peter Schöffer , Mainz 1484, Part I, Chapter 97: Nigella rate (digitized version)
  34. Gart der Gesundheit . Peter Schöffer , Mainz 1485, Chapter 277: Nigella raden (digitized version )
  35. ^ Hortus sanitatis , Jacobus Meydenbach, Mainz 1491, Book I, De herbis, Chapter 310: Nigella (digitized version )
  36. Hieronymus Brunschwig : Small distilling book , Strasbourg 1500, sheet 96r – 96v, rat krut water (digitized version )
  37. ^ Otto Brunfels : Contrafeyt Kreüterbuch. Strasbourg 1532, p. 265, installments (digitized version)
  38. Hieronymus Bock : New Kreütter book. Strasbourg 1539, book I, cap. 40, Raden (digitized version)
  39. ^ Leonhart Fuchs : New Kreütterbuch. Strasbourg 1543, chapter 44, Radten (digitized version )
  40. ^ Heinrich Schulze (Cottbus): About Agrostemmin . In: Archives of Pharmacy . Hannover, (2) Volume LVI (1848), pp. 163–166 (digitized version )
  41. JB Henkel (translator): Alexander Willem Michiel van Hasselt : Handbook of poison theory for chemists, doctors, pharmacists and court officials . Vieweg, Branschweig 1862, Part I General Poison Doctrine and the Poisons of the Plant Kingdom , pp. 469-470 (digitized version )
  42. August Husemann and Theodor Husemann : The plant substances in chemical, physiological, pharmacological and toxicological terms. For doctors, pharmacists, chemists and pharmacologists. Springer, Berlin 1871, p. 100: Agrostemmin (digitized version ) ; P. 750: Githagin (digitized version )
  43. Louis Lewin : Textbook of Toxicology . Urban & Schwarzenberg, 2nd edition, Vienna 1897, pp. 265–266 (digitized version )

Web links

Commons : Kornrade ( Agrostemma githago )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Kornrade  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations