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Primula veris

Cowpats and Cowslips

By Heather 10 years ago


In country lanes and meadows up and down Britain the delicate yellow flowers of the native wildflower, the cowslip, can be found, heralding the arrival of Spring.

The cowslip is a member of the primrose family and its Latin name is Primula veris. Its common name is from the Old English word (cuslyppe) for cowpat because they tended to pop up where these fell.

Cowslips prefer well drained alkaline soil and a sunny position. These perennials grown to a height of 12 inches (30 cm) and provide valuable food for several species of butterflies and moths.

If you plant cowslips in a meadow setting don’t cut the grass until after late July when the seeds have set.

Over the years cowslips have had many uses from making wine and jam to medicinal uses such as treatments for coughs and chest infections. The leaves have also been used for healing wounds.