Ragged robin

Our ragged robin has spread into Kestrel Field and Brunts Field.

While it has always been possible to find the frayed flowers of ragged robin somewhere in the reserve, the species has been something of a rarity. But this year, it seems to have has sprung up all over the place.

Clive Knight has sent pictures of apparently well established colonies in Brunts Field.

Ragged robin photographed by Clive Knight in Brunts Field

Ragged robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) is a wetland specialist: it likes marshy places and damp meadows that squelch underfoot, increasingly rare habitats these days. As the reserve’s fields have re-established their native valley-bottom character, dissociated from modern agricultural drainage systems, the right conditions for ragged robin are re-appearing.

Their bright pink flowers are important nectar sources for butterflies and long-tongued bees and the leaves are the food plant of campion and lynchis moths. As the reserve’s damp grassland habitat is restored, the density of species it can support will increase year by year.

Next time you walk in the reserve, look out for drifts of starry pink among the buttercups and long grasses.

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