Belongs to: primrose family

Compare with: cowslip

Oxlip Primula elatior

under threat

Best time to see: Apr to mid May

Key facts

Looking like a cross between a primrose and a cowslip, oxlips are a distinct woodland species

Very slow to colonise new areas and unfortunately making a tempting snack for deer, they are now a protected species

Confined to chalky ancient woods in the area where Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire meet


A cluster of drooping pale yellow flowers in spring, mainly on one side of the stem, 30 cm tall at most

Oval leaves narrow abruptly at the base (unlike the false oxlip, a cowslip/primrose hybrid which also has deeper yellow fls)

  • Main photo

Photo © Jonathan Smith