Cuckoo Flower

Cuckoo Flower Plant Information

Cuckoo Flower grows in the following 22 states:

Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin, Oregon, West Virginia, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington

Cardamine pratensis (cuckooflower or lady's smock), is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae, native throughout most of Europe and Western Asia. The specific name pratensis is Latin for "meadow."

Cardamine pratensis is a herbaceous, hairless,perennial plant growing to 40-60cm tall, with pinnate leaves 5-12cm long with 3-15 leaflets, each leaflet about 1cm long. The flowers are produced on a spike 10-30cm long, each flower 1-2cm in diameter with four pale pink (rarely white) petals. The style of the fruit is short or longish. It grows best close to water.
Its common name cuckooflower derives from the formation of the plant's flowers at around the same time as the arrival each spring of the first cuckoos in the British Isles.
Common throughout the British Isles.
Recorded in Ireland from all 40 of the "vice-counties" (a system adopted by Praeger in 1901).
It is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, and has become naturalised in North America as a result of cultivation. In some European countries, including parts of Germany, the plant is now under threat.
It is a food plant for the orange tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) and makes a valuable addition to any garden which aims at attracting wildlife. It was once used as a substitute for watercress.
In folklore it was said to be sacred to the fairies, and so was unlucky if brought indoors. It was not included in May Day garlands for the same reason.
It is the county flower of the English county of Cheshire.

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