Cuckooflower

©Karen Lloyd

Cuckooflower

Scientific name: Cardamine pratensis
A sure sign that spring has arrived, the Cuckooflower blooms from April. Look out for its delicate, pale pink flowers in damp meadows and ditches, and on riverbanks.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April to June

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.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The common name 'Lady's-smock' arises from the cupped shape of the flowers. However, 'smock' was once a slang term for a woman and the name may have alluded to certain springtime activities in the meadows!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and grassland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.