Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Ragged Robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi
A beautiful flower with a wonderful name, the Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) is perennial native to Ireland that begins flowering in May and continues to do so until August. For me, its charm lies in its ragged flowers, which are borne on stems up to 70 cm high. They consist of five petals, but each of these has four lobes making it seem like there are more. While it can be seen sometimes brightening up some roadside verges, it is most common in fens, marshes and damp grasslands (1). Unfortunately these habitats are becoming all to scarce in this country and the plant is now less common than it once was. Such habitat loss and fragmentation will lead to increased instances of inbreeding and associated inbreeding depression in populations of L. flos-cuculi. This has been shown to have a significant effect on the fitness of subsequent generations (2).
Ragged Robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi
  1. Phillips, 1977. Wild Flowers of Britain p. 90
  2. Hauser and Loeschcke, 1996. Evolution 50 pp. 1119-1126

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