Cuckoo Flower- Cardamine Pratensis - Western Isles Pink Wildflowers

Red Clover - Western Isles Wildflowers

Cuckoo Flower - Pink Wildflowers
These pretty pink wildflowers are seen on the Western Isles and indeed throughout Scotland and The UK, really are pretty. As spring gets underway they open wide showing the bright yellow anthers. Hebridean wildflowers at their best.

Western Isles Wildflowers
A lovely light pink wildflower that starts to flower in The Hebrides in the spring. It grows in damp meadows and moorland and alongside banks and streams - anywhere where there is a dampness.


Clusters of Pink Flowers
The cuckoo flower or lady's smock as it is sometimes called has clusters of pale pink, almost lilac flowers, each with four petals.

It flowers April - June and grows up to a height of 24 inches. The flowers are 1 to 2 cm's across. The cuckoo flower has a rosette habit. The stamens are half the length of the petals.

This lovely wild flower is a perennial which really does stand out, the yellow anthers being quite bright. and almost glisten in the grass.

Hermaphrodite - Male and Female
This wildflower has both male and female organs. The flowers are scented and are pollinated by bees

Flowers in Groups

The flowers occur in groups at the end of the flower stalk which droop and close up at night or during heavy rain

Leaves and Flowers Edible
The leaves at the upper part of the cuckooflower are narrower while the leaves at the bottom part are a bit rounder.

The leaves are dark green and deeply lobed and become narrower towards the top. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible.

Name Derivation
The cuckoo flower is so called because it 's flowers come out at the same time of year as one hears the first cuckoo.

Other Names
These wildflowers also called lady's smock - the simile to a maids smock makes for a romantic notion of these flowers.

Attributed to the Virgin Mary
When Christianity came this feminist association was attributed to the Virgin Mary - which led to the flowers also being called. my lady's smock, lady's glove.

It is also sometimes called Lucy, Shoes and Stockings, Gilliflower, Apple Pie (which refers to the smell of the flowers) and many others.

Disperses Its Own Seed
The cuckoo flower sometimes disperses its own seed. The fruit is a dry capsule.

Seeds are Ready to Burst
When the fruit is ripe the valves are ready to burst - they roll up and become detached and disperse the seeds in quite an explosion.

Cuckoo Flower  - Isle of Harris Wildflowers
Click pictures below for larger photographs


Bridal Bouquets
The Lady's Smock was often used in bridal bouquets - but never in the month of May when it was thought to be unlucky.

In France The Cuckoo Flower Not used In May
- in fact in France it wasn't used in May at all as it was believed to be the favourite plant of the adders.

You Would be Bitten By an Adder
If if you picked it in May - you would surely be bitten by an adder.

Cuckoo Flower- Hebrides Flowers
Cuckoo Flower
Medicinal Herbal Uses
As this lovely plant contains a lot of Vitamin C it has been used to prevent scurvy.

Cuckoo flower leaves were once used as a substitute for watercress, to which it is closely related

Tudor Times
The alternative name of Lady’s smock is also said to have originated from Tudor times

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