Cuckoo flower

It is a short perennial proof to frequent mowing. Likes damp locations. Cuckoo flower is an edible, aromatic, healing and honey plant. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.

SKU: N063

8,0060,50

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About the species

Polish name: meadow bittercresses

Latin Name: Cardamine pratensis L.

Family: the mustards Brassicaceae (the crucifers Cruciferae)

Status in Poland: native, common

Durability:
perennial plant
Flower color:
white-pink
Height:
about 30 cm
Flowering:
April-June

Morphology

The medium-height perennialall overgrown with protruding hairs, with a specific taste and smell.

Develops short, bulgy, and unbranched shoots. The circular stem in cross-section at first has a pith, but quickly becomes hollow in the center.

It has basal leaves forming a rosette, pinnate with 2-15 leaflets, with a top leaflet bigger than the others, usually circular or broadly obovate. The second type of leaves that the cuckoo flower forms are shoot leaves: usually 2-8, rarely 15, elongated, lanceolate. In autumn, adventitious buds can be seen on the basal leaves, of which they under favorable
conditions, new specimens will grow up.

It develops flowers from April to June-July. Structure typical of the mustards: bisexual, actinomorphic, four-parted, with the perianth composed of the calyx and the corolla, clustered in loose racemes at the tops of the shoots. A single creamy white or lilac purple flower of C. pratensis has a green,
the four-sepaled calyx with characteristic membranous margins of the sepals, a corolla with
four elliptical petals, one pistil with a long ovary but short style, and
six stamens, also quadruple. The pistil usually contains 20-30 ovules. Among
the six stamens, central are longer (5-10 mm), and marginal are clearly shorter (3-6 mm) than
the rest. A lot of nectar is collected at the torus of the flower, which is secreted by the nectaries. In the rain and at night, the entire inflorescence wraps itself, and the flowers close.

The fruit of the cuckoo flower is typical for the genus bare, veinless silique, in the case of this species: elongated, linear, but with a rostrum up to 1 mm long. They ripen between June and August. A single seed will be light brown, orbicular or elliptical, and simultaneously flattened, without wings.

Additional information

Sowing

Cuckoo flower requires moderately sunny, moderately warm, constantly moist locations with slightly acidic or completely neutral soil. It grows best on heavy (or at least moderately cohesive), clay-humus soil, very fertile.

In Western Europe, since the 17th century ornamental varieties were known, e.g. with double number of petals. It is an old aromatic and medicinal plant from traditional old Polish gardens, and for decades an increasingly popular ingredient of flower containers, urban flower meadows and field margins in orchards.

Interesting facts

Cuckoo flower is an ancient medicinal herb and wild vegetable. It generally strengthens and cleanses people. Young delicate leaves, less often whole plants, are served with cottage cheese or cheese, added to soups, sauces, salads and meat.

It is part of creams for the care of dry and overworked hands. To this day, it is used in herbal medicine in the treatment of diabetes, diseases of the gastrointestinal, and urogenital tracts. Due to the high content of vit. C treats scurvy, as it is rich in iron, it prevents anemia, and thanks to the high concentration of iodine, it protects against goiter. Unfortunately, the ease of which this wild vegetable accumulates microelements means that the specimens growing near highways, factories, mines, etc. accumulate heavy metals that are dangerous to us. Academic medicine is quite skeptical about the ability of the cuckoo flower to lowering blood sugar. Overdosing of the cuckoo flower infusions for rheumatism or rheumatoid arthritis damages the kidneys and stomach. Strong smell and taste discouraged cattle and horses from eating it.

Cuckoo flower in seed mixtures:

Use Value

This plant among beekeepers is considered a good sustaining forage, enabling bee colonies to survive in periods when there stop nectarising commercial cultivars, and/or there is little honeydew in forests and orchards. Like many other mustards, cuckoo flower produces a lot of valuable nectar in its flowers easily available to honey bees and solitary bees. It is sometimes sown on wet meadows near apiaries, intentionally introduced into flower margins in orchards, and beekeeping mixtures.

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