An Encounter with a Cowslip

Primula veris, more commonly known as  Cowslip is from the same family as primroses, Primulaceae. The plant was once commonly found in fields and along farm hedgerows but now has become a rare sight. Mostly it was found in fields which had cattle grazing in them thus where its common name derives from.

Unfortunately, they have become an extremely rare sight, in particularly in the fields around house in Kildare. Like wild primroses, they have steadily disappeared. They are very commonly found now along motorways and main roads now. Along the M4 motorway, I have spotted a number of these plants along the road embankments as my bus hurtles along  in to city each morning.

In the past week however, one of my good friends told me she had a clump of them growing at the side of her driveway. I must admit I got very excited and got her to take a photo for me!



Being part of the Primula genus you will notice it has very similar leaves to its close relation the primrose. The flowers, however are very different. The flowers of the cowslip stand in clusters of bell like flowers atop tall stalks. The wild variety is a deep sun yellow colour and is extremely attractive to look at.

It is a great plant to have as part of a wild or woodland garden. However Do Not Pick or Dig Up Wild Cowslips. If you do want to include some cowslips in your garden, plants or seeds can be bought from good garden centers. Planting them in large clumps can give a great natural effect to the planting.


Update: I have just been told by Alice that in Germany Cowslips are called schlüsselblumen, or key flowers as they are thought to look like a bunch of old keys!