Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Cuckoo Flower

Cuckoo Flower, Cardamine pratensis
As May approaches, so the Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis) blossoms. This perennial of damp grassland and stream sides has the most wonderful blush-purple flowers atop a stem rising at most 55 cm from a basal rosette of leaves (1). C. pratensis is actually a species complex, comprising a group of species with marked karyological and morphological variation that cover its large range, from Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America (2).Being a plant often present in grazing areas, C. pratensis has the ability to regenerate readily from any damage caused. Adventitious buds on the leaves result in the creation of a 'bud bank' in areas (3). A bud bank is an accumulation of dormant buds in the soil which serves to as a source of plant asexual regeneration after disturbance. When used in concert with seed banks, bud banks of C. pratensis allow the survival and proliferation of populations of the plant.

  1. Phillips, 1977. Wild Flowers of Britain p. 18
  2. Lihovál et al., 2003. Taxon 52 pp. 783-801
  3. Klimešová and Klimš, 2007. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 8 pp. 115–129

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