Lady’s Smock, Cuckooflower. Cardamine pratensis. Cardamine des prés.

Lady’s Smock or Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis). French name: Cardamine des prés.

Yesterday we heard the cuckoo for the first time this spring in France so I thought it quite apt that whilst out walking we also stumbled upon a patch of Lady’s Smock or Cuckooflower, so-called as they can be found flowering from when the first cuckoos of spring arrive until they depart.

Lady’s Smock,  Cuckooflower. Cardamine pratensis. Cardamine des prés.

Dainty, pale lilac or white flowers measuring just 1-2cm across open on the ends of 20-40cm tall, slender stems from March – July.  After flowering, long pods develop which when ripe explode to scatter their seeds.

This is a charming wildflower which you will find thriving in marshy or damp ground especially along the sides of streams and ditches.  Preferring light to full shade, it can also be found nestled on the edge of cool woodland.

Lady’s Smock,  Cuckooflower. Cardamine pratensis. Cardamine des prés.

Lady’s Smock is common throughout France with the exception of dryer, Mediterranean regions.

Keep an eye out for it now

A bientôt

Katherine x



'Lady’s Smock or Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis). French name: Cardamine des prés.' have 1 comment

  1. June 1, 2016 @ 6:47 am Gardening for Wildlife part 2: Top 10 Plants for Caterpillars. | jardin-perdu

    […] This pretty pale lilac wildflower is loved by the caterpillar of the Orange Tip butterfly. It flowers from April through to June on damp, wet grassland or by the side of ponds. You can read my earlier blog about Lady’s smock here. […]

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Le Jardin Perdu 2015. All images and posts are the property of Katherine Forshaw

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