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Ragged Robin Flowering

6-12  ragged robin 046Ragged Robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi, is native to Europe and has become so abundant in northern United States that it borders on being considered an invasive plant. Found usually in wet areas such as marshes, fens and wet meadows, this perennial can cover an area as large as an acre. When flowering, Ragged Robin is very noticeable — not only to humans, but also to the many insects that pollinate it. Bees and butterflies, especially, flock to stands of this plant in order to obtain its nectar and white pollen. (If you suck the base of the flower, you will soon detect the sweetness that attracts pollinators.)

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9 responses

  1. Shirley Harris

    Do you have a comparative photo of Rhodora, another beautiful flowering shrub in spring wetlands with a similar color flower?

    June 12, 2015 at 6:13 am

    • Hi Shirley,
      Ragged Robin is not a shrub — it is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant…you’re right, Rhodora’s flower is similar in color, but very different in structure. I may well do a post on it some day!

      June 12, 2015 at 6:19 am

  2. Jeffrey Mazur

    I just came across this yesterday and was wondering what its name was 🙂



    Sent from my iPhone, please ignore any typos and or strange auto corrections 🙂

    June 12, 2015 at 7:39 am

  3. Marilyn

    With the forget-me-nots and ragged robins, the daisies and the black eyed susans that i tend to mow around, there is quite a bit of natural (?) color and brightness in my lawns!

    June 12, 2015 at 8:47 am

  4. Kathie Fiveash

    I had not seen this flower before. Now, after 15 springs on Isle au Haut I’m in Massachusetts again, and I’m seeing it lots of places. It is proliferating!

    June 12, 2015 at 1:04 pm

  5. I love this little flower, we have only a few on the property, but I see a lot of them in wet meadows, as you said.

    June 12, 2015 at 8:58 pm

  6. After shopping at Price Chopper this morning I took a walk along the Mascoma River and found Ragged Robin most everywhere, also Birdfoot Trefoil and Wild Madder. Then home to find your email.

    June 13, 2015 at 10:46 pm

  7. Allan and Myra Ferguson

    Mary, Do you know if it’s possible to have a devil’s club plant in our NH forest? I have several plants in our Meriden forest (clustered in wet, shady areas) and several at our camp on the shore of Pleasant Lake in Elkins (New London), NH. HOWEVER, looking on the internet for more information, I find that the plant’s habitat is in western US and no further east than Lake Superior. The plants that I come across here in NH certainly look like the thorny, horrid (horridus is in it’s latin name) plant pictured on the internet, but the NH version is much more benign. It’s not thorny and it’s easily confused with a young striped maple. It’s berries (late summer) are a gorgeous color of red. In the spring, I feared phragmites had escaped into our forest. Right now, the flower (and soon-to-be club) is forming in the crotch of one of its branches. It’s nice to have met you in person at the UVLT Annual Meeting. Congratulations on the Patchen Miller Award! Myra603-469-3399

    June 17, 2015 at 9:29 am

    • Hi Myra,
      Nice to hear from you. I have never seen or heard of Oplopanax horridus in the East…if you feel like sending me a photo of the plant ( I’d love to see it. Many thanks!

      June 17, 2015 at 1:44 pm

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