Couillon de Chien, Couillon de Renard, Cuckoo Flower, Damette, Folle Femelle, Levant Salep, Morion, Orchid, Orchis Bouffon, Orchis Casque, Orchis Mascula, Orchis morio, Petite Dame des Prés, Sahlep, Salep Orchid, Saloop, Satirion Femelle, Satyrion, Soupe à Vin, Lady’s Smock, Lady’s-smock, Milkmaids, Meadowcress, Lucy Locket, Pigeon’s Eye, Mayflower, Bittercress, Серде́чник лугово́й, Steckbrief
Charming and informal, Cuckooflower is a wildflower that is lilac-pink in colour. It looks dainty and is clustered at the top of the plant that grows 8 inches tall. It thrives in damp areas and blooms together with moisture loving wildflowers like primroses, daffodils and oxlips. Cuckooflower can be found in riverbanks, meadows and ditches. It is called Cuckooflower because it blooms in anticipation of the arrival of the first cuckoo which serves as a signal of spring time. Each flower typically has four petals but double flowered varieties have been spotted. According to folklore, the Cuckooflower is considered sacred to the fairies and is considered bad luck if brought indoors. It has been cited in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour Lost
Vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc
April to June
Leaves and flowers
Chronic skin complaints
Best used when fresh, the leaves were used in salads in the absence of lettuce. Cuckooflower is also very important for butterflies and caterpillars as a food source.
Apart from Cuckooflower being a decorative plant in the springtime, it also holds historical significance in the treatment of scurvy among ships’ sailors. It served well because of its Vitamin C content and the leaves are also a substitute in salads in the absence of lettuce.
No side effects have yet been reported for Cuckooflower.
Healeydell UK Files, Lady’s Smock: http://www.healeydell.org.uk/files/Ladys_Smock.pdf
Plants for a Future, Cardamine pratensis: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cardamine+pratensis
Nature Gate, Cuckooflower: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/cuckoo-flower