Belongs to: primrose family

Compare with: oxlip

Cowslip Primula veris

Also known as: fairy cups, mayflower

Best time to see: Apr to late May

Key facts

A primrose with clusters of yellow flowers at the top of stems up to 30 cm long

Now scarce in its traditional meadow habitat and more often found on roadside verges

Probably derives its name from cowpat, from where it will germinate in the wild


Flowers are in larger clusters and deeper yellow than its woodland cousin, the oxlip, and occur all round the stem

Leaves oval, narrowing abruptly at the base

  • Main photo

Photo © Phil Luke