CUCKOOFLOWER

LADY'S-SMOCK

Cardamine pratensis

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]  

month8mar month8march month8apr month8april month8May month8jun month8june

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8pink flower8lilac
inner
inner8green
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZbisexual

4th June 2013, the marshy grasslands, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Growing in a moist place a mile south of Southport which may occasionally get washed by a high tide.


12th May 2009, extinct Bugsworth tramway, Dove Holes. Photo: © RWD
Cuckooflower enjoys growing in damp soggy ground.


25th April 2015, Bromborough Rake, Dibbinsdale, Wallasey. Photo: © RWD
Growing on a fallen log covered in mosses.


2nd May 2007, Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Photo: © RWD
There are small groupings of pale-lilac flowers atop a very thin un-straight stalk.


20th April 2011, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Widely separated singly-pinnate leaves appear alternately on the stem. The leaflets are like fine feathers: very short and even more narrow, a little like those of Yarrow. The dark-green leaflets may be reddened to a dark purple sepia tone.


2nd May 2007, Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have four lilac-coloured petals, with a yellow centre. The seed pods which grow beneath the flowers are on long stalls and very narrow and cylindrical.


23rd April 2017, Bridgewater Canal, north of Dunham Massey. Photo: © RWD
The 5 sepal cups supporting each flower. As the stem grows so too does the distance between the flower stalks.


12th April 2007, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Diggle. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are on very long, somewhat droopy stalks, now fairly well separated from each other. The sepal cups turn yellower.


12th May 2009, Peters Dale, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Bird's-eye view of a young plant. The sepals, greenish at first, turn yellow with reddish marks at the rounded tips.


2nd May 2007, Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Photo: © RWD
Flower colour can vary from off-white through lilac to a deeper pink.


10th June 2009, Smardale, Yorkshire Dales. Photo: © RWD
Some flowers are almost pure white.


2nd May 2007, Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Photo: © RWD
Sepals turned a deep orange with reddish tips.


2nd May 2007, Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Photo: © RWD
The four petals are round and overlap each other in the centre. Stamens, which are grooved and recurved, number six; anthers are discoidal and yellowish green.


20th April 2011, Birkdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Petals have deeper-lilac veins. The central 'disc' will become the cylindrical seed pod.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Dunes, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Fine long-oval leaflets are long and narrow, with but a few only to each singly-pinnate leaf and in singles on alternately opposite sides of the stem. From afar it looks as though the fine leaflets are on a circular stalk, but it is actually a flat stalk curled up tightly to form a slit cylinder. Leaflets reddish-brown at tips. Basal leaves (not shown) have rounded leaflets on single-pinnate leaves.


23rd April 2017, Bridgewater Canal, north of Dunham Massey. Photo: © RWD
The curled-up nature of the leaf rachis can also be seen in the lower leaf here.


20th May 2012, woodland edge, Bury, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The very lowest leaves are a different shape, being almost circular with one at the tip and 3 (or more) other almost circular ones in opposite pairs (best seen in those near the bottom in the centre and just to the right).


21st April 2015, staffs & Worcester Canal, north of Kidsgrove. Photo: © RWD
The leaves and stems can sometimes turn a reddish-brown, to protect themselves from excess sun and heat.




A DOUBLE-FLOWERED FORM

 Mutations Menu

25th April 2009, Lancashire Photo: © David Pilling
A double-flowered form.


25th April 2009, Lancashire Photo: © David Pilling
Double-flowered form.


May 2019, a meadow, South Devon. Photo: © Alison Tickner
Double-flowered form.


Hybridizes with: Wavy Bitter-cress to produce Cardamine × fringsii, which occupies fewer than a dozen isolated tetrads in the southern half of England only.

Some similarities to : Greater Cuckooflower (but that has pinnate stem leaves with rounded rather than narrow leaflets), Coralroot (which has toothed stem leaves which are single rather than pinnate), Pinnate Coralroot (which grows in but four well isolated hectads).

Not un-like: Water Violet (but that has five petals and grows in shallow water) and to Dame's-Violet which is much taller.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics: Grows near water unlike Honesty which looks a little like it, but Honesty is much taller with purple (or white) flowers and large leaves.

Distinguishing Feature : The fine pinnate leaves roughly half-way down the otherwise bare stem.

No relation to : Lords-and-Ladies nor to Lady's-Mantle, Lady's-Slipper Orchid, Autumn Lady's-Tresses, Irish Lady's-Tresses, Lady's Bedstraw, Lady's Teardrops nor Lady Orchid, [plants with similar names]


  Cardamine pratensis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
family8Cabbage family8Brassicaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Cardamine
Cardamine
(Bitter-cresses)

CUCKOOFLOWER

LADY'S-SMOCK

Cardamine pratensis

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]  

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