Height: 3-6" (7-15 cm) Flowering Time: Spring Flower Colour: Yellow ____________________________________
Subclass: Dicotyledonae (Dicotyledons) Superorder: Dilleniidae (Dillenia Superorder) Order: Primulales (Primrose Order) Family: Primulaceae (Primrose Family) Genus: Primula (Primrose) Species: veris (of spring) ____________________________________
Primula veris is, as its Latin name suggests, one of the first flowers of spring. It is a cousin of the Primrose, but is not nearly so common, although where it does grow, it can form large colonies. It prefers more open situations than the Primrose, growing around the edges of fields and hedges or in damp meadows. It has a basal rosette of bluish, crinkled, slightly hairy leaves, with straight pink stems topped with a cluster of bright yellow flowers with an orange blotch on each petal. These are distinguished from those of the Primrose by appearing not to open completely, although this may be because the petals are shorter than the inflated calyx.
Primula veris has been used in traditional medicine as a sedative and muscle relaxant, for kidney problems, to reduce inflammation and to treat bruising.
In the past, it has been made into Cowslip wine and to make 'Cowslip Balls'. Instructions from an old book on wild flowers: cut only flower clusters where all the flowers are open. Tie a 2' length of string between two chair backs. Hang the flowers on the string until it is full, then carefully untie one end of the string and gather the flower heads together into a ball. Tie the ends of the string together. As this obviously uses a lot of flowers, it is probably not an appropriate decoration to make today.
Harvesting and Growing from Seed:
Seed Pod The seed pod is a ball inside the calyx.
Seed The seeds are fuzzy brown balls. There are several seeds in a seedpod.
Seedling The seedleaves are round. The first true leaves are almost heart-shaped and crinkly.
(You can check the meaning of any technical terms new to you in the Botany section of the site)
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