Silene flos-cuculi

The Ragged-robin is in local decline.


Ragged-robin is a perennial herb which tends to grow up to 80cm tall. Its flowers grow in loose clumps and bloom between May and August, revealing clusters of pink, star shaped flowers with petals divided into four segments. On rare occasions flowers can be white. It grows distinctive, long, narrow green leaves in opposite pairs. The ragged flowers of this plant make them easy to identify.

This plant was referred to as Crowflower during Shakespearean times, in which it was mentioned in his play ‘Hamlet’ as part of Ophelia’s garland. It’s also referred to as the cuckoo flower, meadow pink and marsh gilliflower.


Ragged-robin is found in damp habitats including fen-meadows, damp woodlands, ditches and wet grassland.

Distribution and threats

Ragged-robin is widely distributed throughout the UK. It remains a relatively frequent plant in many parts of Britain, and is present in multiple fens and floodplains around Oxfordshire.

Habitat loss due to land drainage and reduced grazing has resulted in local declines, and it is therefore assessed as Near Threatened in England.