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Cardamine pratensis

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."

Description[edit]

Cardamine pratensis is a herbaceous, hairless,[1] 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.[1] It grows best close to water.

Distribution[edit]

Common throughout the British Isles.[2]

Recorded in Ireland from all 40 of the "vice-counties", (a system adopted by Praeger (1901)).[3]

Cultivation[edit]

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.

Folklore[edit]

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.[4]

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. An Irish Flora 1996. Dundalgan Press, Dundalk. ISBN 0-85221-131-7
  2. ^ Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968. Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-04656-4
  3. ^ Scannell, M.J.P and Synnott, D.M. 1972. Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland. Dublin
  4. ^ Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies, (Century, 1987); p

References[edit]


Further illustrations[edit]

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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