Ragged Robin - Lychnis flos-cuculi
Herb: Ragged Robin
Latin name: Lychnis flos-cuculi
Synonyms: Coronaria flos-cuculi
Family: Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family, Starwort Family)
Description of the plant:
Habitat of Ragged Robin:Damp meadows, marshes, fens and wet woods, avoiding acid soils.
Other uses of the herb: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.
Propagation of Ragged Robin: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.
Cultivation of the herb:Damp meadows, marshes, fens and wet woods, avoiding acid soils.
Medicinal use of Ragged Robin:None known
Known hazards of Lychnis flos-cuculi:This plant contains saponins. Although fairly toxic, these substances are poorly absorbed by the body, most passing straight through without any harm. Saponins can be found in a number of common foods such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.