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Cardamine pratensis (cuckoo flower 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 40–60 cm tall, with pinnate leaves 5–12 cm long with 3-15 leaflets, each leaflet about 1 cm long. The flowers are produced on a spike 10–30 cm long, each flower 1–2 cm diameter with four pale pink (rarely white) petals. The style of the fruit is short or longish. It grows best close to water.
British Isles: Common throughout the British Isles.
Ireland: recorded from all 40 of the "vice-counties", (a system adopted by Praeger (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.
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Scott, R.2004. Wild Belfast on safari in the city. The Blackstaff Press, Belfast. ISBN0-85640-762-3. Photograph p. 45.
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