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American Cuckoo-Flower, Lady's Smock

Cardamine pratensis

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cardamine (kar-DAM-ih-nee) (Info)
Species: pratensis (pray-TEN-sis) (Info)
Synonym:Cardamine acaulis
Synonym:Cardamine buchtormensis
Synonym:Cardamine fontinalis
Synonym:Cardamine pratensis var. palustris
Synonym:Cardamine pratensis var. pratensis




Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Halifax, Massachusetts

Saint Helen, Michigan

Norwood, New York

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 12, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Native to wet meadows, this species requires consistent moisture. I've lost it more than once in ordinary garden beds (in MA Z6a) that don't receive consistent irrigation.

This species is native to Europe and western Asia and naturalized in northern N. America. There's nothing "American" about it, even in the correct name.

The USDA Plants database, based on the BONAP data, erroneously indicates that this is native to the USA. That database is rife with such errors, and is the origin of rafts of errors in secondary sources.


On Mar 12, 2015, maccionoadha from Halifax, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is native to the parts of Canada and the U.S.A. and are Threatened in Massachusetts and Endangered in Illinois, New Hampshire, and Ohio).


On Nov 14, 2001, Baa wrote:

A perennial from Europe and Northern Hemisphere.

Has basal rosettes of pinate, mid-dark green, pinnate leaves with up to 7 pairs of rounded leaflets. Bears lilac, pink or white, small flowers with 4 notched petals.

Flowers April-June

Likes boggy or damp soil in partial shade.