Sunday 19 May 2013: Cuckoo flower
The Cuckoo Flower or Lady's Smock Cardamine pratensis is an elegant flower. The plant is 20-50cm in height with narrow long leaves and will produce several pink or white flowers on each stem in late spring/early summer - this image shows the delicate veining very well. It can be found in moist or wet habitats, including damp grasslands, roadsides, ditches and river banks. This species is an important larval host plant and nectar source for the Orange-Tip and Green-Veined White butterflies.
This spring flower is associated with milkmaids and their smocks, the cuckoo and the Virgin. But it also has other less desirable associations. In parts of France it was never included in May Day garlands, and in Vienne it was considered the favourite flower of adders and those who picked it would be bitten before the year was out. In Germany it was a thunder and storm flower, not to be picked or brought into the house for fear of lightning strike. In some parts of England it was also considered unwise to pick it, giving it the now-defunct Northamptonshire vernacular name of Pick-Folly.
I photographed it while working in Brampton Wood, my third day of woodland quadrat recording there. I've not had much time to post any blips or comment on other journals recently, but will get around to filling in all the gaps. I'm working every day until the end of May, and things aren't much better in June or July, so I think I'll be keeping a very low profile!! But Chris has now finished his research report, and Ben's prepared for his chemistry exam tomorrow - at least in terms of revision - so progress is being made :)