Open the Advanced Search

Ragged Robin

Lychnis flos-cuculi

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
75 centimetres tall
Ditches, fens, fields, floodplains, gardens, grassland, marshes, meadows, riverbanks, roadsides, seaside, waterside, wetland, woodland.

Red, 5 petals
5 deeply cleft pink or red petals, divided into 4 narrow lobes.
A globular, 5-valved capsule with an opening at the top. The capsule splits open in late summer to release its brown seeds.
Opposite, lance-shaped leaves. The stem leaves are stalkless but the basal leaves are stalked. 'Lychnis' (see botanical name) comes from the Greek 'lychnos' which means Lamp. This is in reference to the greyish-green leaves.
Other Names:
Crow Flower, Crow Soap, Cuckoo Flower, Cuckoo Gilliflower, Cuckoo Hood, Indian Pink, Marsh Gilliflower, Meadow Lychnis, Meadow Pink, Wild William.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Lychnis flos-cuculi, also known as Ragged Robin, is a perennial flowering plant in the pink family (Caryophyllaceae). It is native to Europe and Asia, and typically grows in damp, grassy meadows and along the edges of streams and ponds. The plant has delicate, pink or magenta flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer, and its leaves are lance-shaped and green. It is often used in wildflower gardens and as a naturalizing plant in wetland areas.


Ragged Robin, also known as Lychnis flos-cuculi, is a beautiful wildflower that can be found growing in damp meadows, marshes, and other wet habitats throughout much of Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family and is known for its bright pink or red flowers and long, slender stems.

One of the most striking features of Ragged Robin is its distinctive flower structure. The five-petaled flowers are deeply lobed, with long, narrow petals that are deeply cut at the tips, giving the flower a ragged, fringed appearance. The flowers bloom in late spring and early summer, attracting a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Ragged Robin is a perennial plant, meaning that it will continue to grow and flower year after year. It typically grows to a height of around 60cm, with long, narrow leaves that grow in a rosette at the base of the plant. The stems are thin and wiry, and the flowers are held aloft on long, slender stalks.

This plant is very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers damp, marshy soils but can also grow in drier conditions as long as it is provided with enough water. It is easy to propagate from seed, and once established, it requires very little care.

Ragged Robin has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Its roots were used to make a tea that was said to be helpful in treating a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, respiratory issues, and menstrual cramps. The plant was also used topically to treat skin conditions such as rashes, eczema, and acne.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Ragged Robin is also a popular ornamental plant. It is often grown in cottage gardens and other informal settings, where its bright, cheerful flowers provide a splash of color and attract pollinators to the garden. It is also frequently used in wildflower meadows and other naturalistic plantings.

Ragged Robin is a delightful plant that is well worth adding to any garden. Its bright, cheerful flowers, ease of care, and versatility make it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike.

Ragged Robin is an important plant for wildlife, providing nectar and pollen for a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies. It is also a host plant for several species of moths and butterflies, which lay their eggs on the plant and rely on it as a food source for their larvae.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal uses, Ragged Robin has also been used in folklore and literature. In many cultures, it was believed that the plant had magical properties and could be used to ward off evil spirits or bring good luck. In the 19th century, the poet John Clare wrote a poem entitled "The Ragg'd Robin," in which he celebrated the plant's beauty and resilience in the face of adversity.

Despite its many benefits, Ragged Robin is not without its challenges. Like many wetland plants, it is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, as wetlands are drained and converted to agricultural or urban use. In addition, the plant is sometimes considered a weed in agricultural settings, as it can invade fields and compete with crops for nutrients and water.

Despite these challenges, Ragged Robin remains an important and beloved plant in many parts of the world. Its bright, cheerful flowers and hardy nature make it a popular choice for gardens and naturalistic plantings, while its ecological and medicinal benefits ensure that it will remain an important part of our natural heritage for generations to come.

One interesting aspect of Ragged Robin is its name, which is believed to have originated from the Old English word "hraggered" or "ragged," referring to the fringed, torn appearance of the flower petals. Another theory suggests that the name may have come from the plant's use in medieval times as a treatment for ragged wounds.

Ragged Robin is also an important plant for traditional herbal medicine. Its roots, leaves, and flowers have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, respiratory issues, and menstrual cramps. In addition, the plant has been used topically to treat skin conditions such as rashes, eczema, and acne.

In terms of cultivation, Ragged Robin is a relatively easy plant to grow, requiring moist, well-drained soil and partial shade to full sun. It is also a good choice for rain gardens and other wetland restoration projects, as it can help to stabilize stream banks and prevent erosion.

Ragged Robin is a charming and useful plant that offers many benefits to both humans and wildlife. Its bright, cheerful flowers, hardy nature, and versatility make it a popular choice for gardens, meadows, and naturalistic plantings, while its ecological and medicinal benefits ensure that it will continue to play an important role in our natural world.

Ragged Robin is not only appreciated for its beauty and medicinal uses, but it also has cultural significance in many parts of the world. In Finland, for example, the plant is associated with the celebration of Midsummer, a holiday marking the summer solstice. Finnish people often wear crowns of Ragged Robin flowers during Midsummer festivities, and the plant is also used as a decorative element in traditional Finnish crafts.

In addition, Ragged Robin has been used in traditional dyeing practices. The flowers can be used to create a natural dye that produces shades of pink and red, which have been used to dye fabrics and yarns.

Ragged Robin is also a plant of ecological importance. It provides habitat and food for a variety of insects and other wildlife, and it plays an important role in wetland ecosystems. Wetlands are crucial for maintaining water quality and regulating water flow, and plants like Ragged Robin help to filter pollutants and prevent erosion. Unfortunately, wetlands are often threatened by human activities such as agriculture and development, and Ragged Robin is just one of many wetland plants that are at risk of being lost.

In conclusion, Ragged Robin is a fascinating and versatile plant that offers many benefits to both humans and the environment. Its striking appearance, ease of cultivation, and numerous cultural and medicinal uses make it a popular choice for gardens and naturalistic plantings, while its ecological importance underscores the need to protect and preserve wetland habitats.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map