The Ragged robin is a tall perennial grass that grows to about half-a-metre tall. Its ragged pink flowers bloom spectacularly in June and July. It thrives near springs and are found in damp and nutrient-rich meadows, beaches, groves and streams. It is found across Europe and Western Siberia. The Ragged robin can sometimes be confused with the sticky catchfly (Lychnis viscaria).
As its specific scientific name flos-cuculi implies, the plant begins to bloom when the cuckoo returns from its winter migration to Africa. The Ragged robin is also called “snake's spit,” because of the foam that can often be found in its stem. The foam is produced by the small meadow froghopper to protect its eggs and larvae.
The Ragged robin has benefitted from human activities and expanded its living environment to human-shaped habitats such as roadsides and field ditches. It is an important honey plant and because it attracts butterflies and different hymenopteran species, the Ragged robin helps promote diversity in forest habitats.
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