Cowslips, Barnham Broom church 1/5
Cowslips at Caistor St Edmunds 2/5
Cowslip, Thompson Common, Elizabeth Dack 3/5
Cowslips, Swafield, Julian Thomas 4/5
Cowslip and horse tail, Stoke Holy Cross, Elizabeth Dack 5/5

Cowslip Primula veris

This winter green perennial has declined in numbers, and is generally only seen on roadside verges or nature reserves. The nodding yellow flowers hang down from a leafless flowering stem and will flower between April and May.

Conservation status

The cowslip is declining. In the past this flower was picked for May Day celebrations, dug up for gardens, and harvested to make cowslip wine and herbal medicines. Cowslips declined dramatically between the 1940s and 1980s because of the intensification of agricultural farming; this saw the increase in the use of herbicides and chemical fertilizers, and brought about the ploughing of old grasslands. Today, cowslip meadows are a great rarity, with this species only surviving on roadside verges and nature reserves.

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Did you know?

The name cowslip is derived from the Old English word, cu-sloppe, meaning a cow pat. This unflattering name reflects their past association with meadows grazed by cattle.

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