Lychnis flos-cuculi, commonly called Ragged-Robin, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Caryophyllaceae. This species is native to Europe, where it is found along roads and in wet meadows and pastures. In Britain it has declined in numbers because of modern farming techniques and draining of wet-lands and is no longer common. However, Lychnis flos-cuculi has become naturalized in parts of the northern United States and eastern Canada.
Coronaria flos-cuculi A.Braun (1843)
Lychnis flos-cuculi forms a rosette of low growing foliage with numerous flower stems 20 to 90 cm tall. The stems rise above the foliage and branch near the top of the stem and end with the pink flowers which are 3–4 cm across. The flowers have five narrow petals deeply divided into four lobes giving the flower an untidy, ragged appearance, hence its common name. The calyx tube is five-toothed with ten stamens. The leaves are paired, with the lower leaves spoon-shaped and stalked. The middle and upper leaves are linear-lanceolate with pointed apexes. All of the leaves are untoothed. The stems have barbed hairs pointing downward and these hairs make the plant rough to the touch. Ragged Robins bloom from May to August, occasionally later, and butterflies and long-tongued bees feed on the flowers nectar. Nevertheless, the flowers are visited by many types of insects, and can be characterized by a generalized pollination syndrome. The fruits consist of small (6–10 mm) capsules opening on top by five teeth and containing many small seeds, they are found on the plants from August onwards.
Commonly found garden varieties include:
- Lychnis flos-cuculi 'Nana' – dwarf form (4 inches) with smaller leaf rosettes and shorter flower stems.
- Lychnis flos-cuculi 'Alba' – white-flowered form.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Lychnis flos-cuculi L. USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
- Van Der Kooi, C. J.; Pen, I.; Staal, M.; Stavenga, D. G.; Elzenga, J. T. M. (2015). "Competition for pollinators and intra-communal spectral dissimilarity of flowers" (PDF). Plant Biology. 18: 56–62. doi:10.1111/plb.12328. PMID 25754608.
Media related to Ragged Robin at Wikimedia Commons
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