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Cuckoo Flower

Dave Cheetham (April)

Out walking yesterday I came across this patch of Cuckoo Flowers.
Also known as Lady's Smock or Milkmaids, they prefer damp areas and their petals range from pink to white.
The Cuckooflower gets its name because it first appears in April - at the same time as the cuckoo.
Standing at about 30cm tall and in this case growing in a large clusters, the cuckoo flower is quite striking and, on close inspection, very beautiful.

The leaves of young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked and are rich in vitamins (particularly vitamin C) and minerals. The Cuckooflower used to be a popular salad plant with a strong cress-like flavour.
The leaves of the flowering Cuckooflower plant are still used as herbal remedies for chronic skin complaints and asthma.

In ancient times cuckooflower was believed to be sacred to the fairies, and as so it was unlucky to bring it indoors. As a result it was deliberately excluded from May day garlands.

Cuckoo flower is a popular haunt for the Orange-tip butterfly. It is also a good place to find 'cuckoo spit'. but that's another story.........

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