Cuckooflower

Cardamine pratensis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Cuckooflower

About

Cuckooflower, also commonly known as 'Lady's-smock', is a pretty springtime perennial of damp, grassy places like wet meadows, ditches and riverbanks, as well as roadside verges. Its pale pink flowers bloom from April to June and are thought to coincide with the arrival of the first cuckoo - a sure sign that spring has arrived at last.

How to identify

Cuckooflower has a rosette of leaves at its base and an upright stem that bears the delicate, small, pale pink or mauve flowers. Each flower has four petals, although double-flowered varieties do appear.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June

How can people help

Once awash with wildflowers and alive with insects, our floodplain meadows have been drained, damaged and destroyed; now, only 1,600 hectares of these precious habitats are left in the whole of the UK. This has had a detrimental effect on wildlife and once common plants and animals, from Cuckooflowers to Curlew, Ragged-robin to Reed Buntings, are becoming a rarer sight. The Wildlife Trusts look after many meadow and wetland habitats for the benefit of local wildlife and are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices in these areas. You can support this vital work by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Cuckooflower
Latin name
Cardamine pratensis
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 50cm
Conservation status
Common.