A common plant of damp places and can be found along ditches and damp woodland as well as water meadows. 


Walk through any of the meadows alongside our Dorset rivers in April and May and you will almost certainly see the cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis) so named as it flowers around the same time as the cuckoo returns to our shores in spring and is found in similar places that the cuckoo chooses to look for its host species nests to lay its eggs in. Also known as lady's smock, this a common plant of damp places and can be found along ditches and damp woodland as well as water meadows. The flowers of the cuckooflower are a very pale mauve/pink. 
This is a favourite food plant of the orange tip butterfly and if you watch closely for a while you will see orange tips laying eggs on the plants. After the butterfly has gone, take a look on the plant stem and you will see a small egg, appropriately orange in colour.
Apparently, this flower is supposedly sacred to fairies and it is very unlucky to bring it in to your house so leave it well alone!

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Common Name Cuckooflower
Alternative Name(s) Lady's Smock
Scientific Name Cardamine pratensis
Family Cabbage family - Cruciferae
Status Locally common
Interest Level
Related Species - CLICK TO VIEW Cabbage Family - Crucifereae
Flower Colour Group White
Flower Visible
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
Look for Attractive white flowers in damp meadows

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
GR: Rush & Purple Moor Grass Associated
GW: Coastal Flood Grazing Associated
Name of species Cuckooflower
This page created by PeterOrchard
This page was created 7 years 1 month ago

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