Mustard family (Brassicaceae)
The Meadow Bitter-cress (or Cross), Ladies’ Smock, or Cuckoo-flower (C. pratensis), an immigrant from Europe and Asia now naturalized from coast to coast, lifts its larger and more showy white or purplish-pink flowers, that stand well out from the stem on slender pedicels, in loose clusters above watery low-lying ground in April and May.
This perennial wildflower Flowers—White or purplish pink, about 1/2 in. across, clustered in a simple terminal raceme. Calyx of four sepals ; corolla of 4 petals in form of a cross; 6 stamens ; 1 compound pistil with a 2-lobed style. Stem: 6 to 18 in. high, erect, smooth, from a tuberous base. Leaves: Basal ones rounded, on long petioles; upper leaves oblong or lance-shaped, toothed or entire-edged, short petioled or seated on stem. Fruit: Very slender, erect pods about in. long, tapering at each end; tipped with a slender style, the stigma prominent; row of seeds in each cell, the pods rapidly following flowers up the stem and opening suddenly. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 3 weeks.
This species may be less common than in the past. Habitats include low woodlands along rivers, edges of vernal pools in woodlands, damp depressions in rocky bluffs, woodland seeps and springs, and damp meadows.
McKean County, Eldred, PA