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Shell Guide to LIFE IN THE CORN

A Shell advert published in Punch magazine on 2 April 1958 (Click on image to enlarge) Painting by John Leigh Pemberton


In the growing and ripening stages corn and hay are a sanctuary for wild life which man does not invade. Here is cover and food for RABBITS (1) which have survived myxomatosis, and for two migrant birds, CONCRAKE (2) and QUAIL (hen 3, cock 4), which are scarce nowadays though they have always been less seen than heard (the Corncrake precisely “crakes”, the Quail says “wet-my-lips “). The LONG-TAILED FIELD MOUSE (5) and the COMMON SHREW (6) live on the margins and in the crop. HARVEST MICE (7), using their tails as they climb about the wheat, are a decreasing species. Modern cleaning of seeds and selective weedkillers have also reduced the flowers. CORNCOCKLE (8) and CORNFLOWER (9) are now much rarer (though common across the Channel in Normandy). BINDWEED (10) isn’t easily repressed, nor is the odd little SHEPHERD’S NEEDLE (11), with needle-shaped fruits. POPPIES (12) still blaze on light soils, and WHITE CAMPION (13) remains common. It was a belief that picking these last two would bring on thunderstorms: in a way, they were protectors of the crop.

NOTE: All the items shown in this picture would not, of course, be found in one place at one time.

Click on image to enlarge

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