It's good to be back. The Daily Telegraph, every-ready to bash the BBC, has splashed an hysterical story about corn cockle [Agrrostemma githago] seeds being distributed in packages c/o Kew Gardens and the Countryfile programme. You'd think the country was now awash with them (fat chance), the way that vigilantes are roaming the highways and byways looking for the evil weed. What will these urban types worry about next.
Corn cockle (a member of the Pink family) used to be a common weed of corn fields, and, because it ripens in July and August, the poisonous seeds got threshed out with the corn and found their way into grain and hence into bread, etc. This can still happen in countries where seed is not cleaned and dressed. Here, sadly, you'd be as likely to see a corn cockle in a corn field as a cornflower. Dear me!
Mind you, if I worried about poisonous plants, I'd never leave the house. Personally, I find that the best way to avoid being poisoned by plants is not to eat them in the first place – especially their seeds.
Environmental education anyone?