We are following the treatment in 'Plants of the World online' (http://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:911444-1). Some other treatments, such as the Flora of China[
], maintain this species in the genus Lychnis (as Lychnis flos-cuculi L.).
Agrostemma flos-cuculi (L.) G.Don
Agrostemma lusitanicum G.Don
Coccyganthe flos-cuculi (L.) Rchb.
Coccyganthe pratensis Schur
Coronaria flos-cuculi (L.) A.Braun
Floscuculi pratense Opiz
Lychnis coccugosantha St.-Lag.
Lychnis cyrillii Richt. ex Rchb.
Lychnis flos-cuculi L.
Lychnis laciniata Lam.
Lychnis laciniflora Stokes
Lychnis lusitanica Mill.
Lychnis plumaria Gray
Lychnis quadridentata Lucé
Silene cuculi E.H.L.Krause
Common Name: Ragged Robin
Silene flos-cuculi is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to 60cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a soap. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east Spain, Siberia and the Caucasus.
Damp meadows, marshes, fens and wet woods, avoiding acid soils[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil so long as it is moist, and also doing well in a bog garden[
]. It prefers a sunny position[
Plants succeed in damp woodlands or damp meadows[
At least one named form has been selected for its ornamental value[
The root contains saponins, a soap substitute that can be used for washing clothes, hair etc. It is extracted by boiling the roots in water[
]. Do not overboil the roots because this will break down the saponins[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
The seed can also be sown in situ in spring or early autumn though this requires more seed.
Division in spring or autumn[
]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.