Definition of corn cockle in English:

corn cockle

(also corncockle)


  • A Mediterranean plant with bright pink or purple flowers and poisonous seeds, introduced into Britain and North America. If unchecked, it can be a prolific weed in fields of grain. It is often cultivated as a showy annual.

    Agrostemma githago, family Caryophyllaceae

    ‘Other imports include the poisonous corncockle from the Mediterranean, the Himalayan balsam and the New Zealand willowherb, an aggressive weed.’
    • ‘An arable area at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens - part of the Go Wild festival - includes a crop with key colourful plants like common poppy, corn marigold and corncockle, plus some clover and a ‘game strip’ down one side.’
    • ‘In many ways this is rural France's most appealing region, an area of winding back roads, of lost-and-gone hamlets, of tree-smothered hills and of wheat fields bright with poppies and corncockles.’
    • ‘And some of them, such as poppies, cornflowers and corncockles are exquisitely beautiful as well.’
    • ‘The flowers of the corncockle have undivided petals and are reddish-purple.’


Early 18th century from corn + cockle (from Old English coccul ‘corncockle’, perhaps via Latin from Greek kokkos ‘berry’).