Spotlight on... Lady's Smock

Lady’s Smock © Dean Morley

in partnership with Wild Oxfordshire

Lady's Smock

Lady’s Smock (Cardamine pratensis) or also commonly known as Cuckoo Flower and Milkmaid are a common and widespread pretty perennial flower usually found in damp meadows, ditches and riverbanks. April to June are the months to find this flower in full bloom and they usually occur in groups. The first bloom of its flowers usually coincides with the time of the first cuckoo bird call in April.

This flower is one of the larval foodplants of the Orange Tip butterfly. The female adult lays her eggs singly amongst the flower buds and the hatched larvae eat the plant's seedpods.

Where is Lady's Smock?

According to our database, Lady’s Smocks are widespread throughout Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Lady's Smock can be found in a few of the Yellow Wagtail Project wetland meadows and pastures. Wild Oxfordshire hopes that the Yellow Wagtail Project will encourage this species to establish across the site.

Our database only includes information which people have provided to us (and we have collected), so a lack of records doesn’t mean that Lady’s Smocks aren’t present in the area. All it means is that no-one has told TVERC they’ve spotted them… yet!

Have you seen any Lady's Smock?

If you spot any wildlife when you’re out and about, share your records with TVERC via our website By letting TVERC know what you have seen you will help protect and improve your local environment by increasing the quality and quantity of data we hold. Photographs are always helpful too, as we keep an image gallery of species found in Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Absence records are also very useful, so also let us know if you’ve been out and haven’t seen anything!

Your records can inform a variety of exciting biodiversity projects and help people make informed decisions about how to develop and manage land sustainably. We are a ‘not for profit’ organisation so rely on valuable help from skilled volunteers to improve our database.

Identification help

Lady’s Smock are usually 30 to 50cm tall and crowned with veined pink/mauve flower has four petals, although double-flowered varieties to appear.

The flowers will droop and close up at night or during heavy rain.

Find out more

Check out the links below for more information on Lady’s Smock and how to identify it!

Cuckooflower | The Wildlife Trusts

Cardamine pratensis, Cuckooflower: identification, distribution, habitat (