Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Ragged-Robin - Lychnis flos-cuculi

Ragged-Robin is a beautiful native herb named for its ragged-looking pink petals.

Ragged Robin, WSBRC/Sharon Pilkington


It grows in a variety of damp habitats including marshes, rush-pasture, wet grassland and damp woodland glades and margins. In Wiltshire it is often associated with river floodplain grassland; it can be abundant in unimproved meadows on clay and also persists in ditches and other marginal ground next to fields and railways in areas where it grew previously.


Ragged-Robin is named for its distinctively ragged-looking petals which are divided into narrow segments; the pink flowers (which can sometimes range to deep red) are borne between May and July and are 30-40mm across. Ragged-Robin grows up to 70cm tall and has hairy lanceolate leaves.


Although there has been little apparent change in the distribution of Ragged-Robin across Wiltshire in the past few decades, it prefers semi-natural or at least long-established habitats and these continue to be lost to agricultural intensification, neglect and local changes to soil hydrology through e.g. abstraction of ground-water.


Being protected generally under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 it is an offence to uproot Ragged-Robin without a landowner’s permission.