Cuckoo Flower / Lady’s Smock (Cardamine pratensis) – Biolar gréagháin Brassicaceae
Another beauty which flowers in Spring and one of my favourite plants (for reasons that will become apparent later in the post).
Cuckoo flower can be found in a number of habitats, but it does have a preference for wetter areas, wet grasslands, damp meadow verges, woodlands and even roadsides (if your local roadside verges haven’t been cut).
The numerous flowers of the plant are beautiful, four overlapping petals which range from lilac to white in colour. The petals have a subtle venation which can be seen in picture below.
The leaves of the plant vary, basal leaves are oval and in a rosette, while stem leaves are slender with many leaflets.
Cuckoo flower is also the larval foodplant of the Orange-Tip Butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) and one of the major reasons I like it so much. Over coming weeks you may start to notice small orange eggs on the plant. Caterpillars will emerge from the eggs (which they eat) and then move on to eating parts of the plants and other Orange-tip caterpillars (if present).
This is currently in flower, so why not get out there and have a look for this beautiful plant and if you happen to find it, why not put the record into the Spring Flower Project a joint project between the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI).
Remember if you have any ideas for future posts or if you want help with identification you can ask me on Twitter @OshDuffy.
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