Cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis

Also known as: lady's smock, milkmaids

Best time to see: mid Mar to mid May

Key facts

A plant of damp meadows with flowers ranging from lavender to very pale pink

So called because its flowers open in April when the cuckoo starts to call, although in Essex they often open earlier

Like the related garden weed, hairy bittercress, pods split suddenly, shooting the seeds a great distance


Food plant for the caterpillars of orange tip and green-veined white butterflies

  • Main photo
  • flowers

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Owen Keen