Yes you will have to read on to find out the answer!
What flowering plant says “it’s Spring” to you? One of my favourites is the sweet and understated Cowslip (Primula veris) and I love it when they appear on motorway verges in April. I’m still finding my way with the Bee Kinder website and blog and have been brainstorming different content ideas, one of which was profiling bee friendly plants, so today we will be seeing how that goes!
This pretty thing is my very own cowslip in my back yard – its been back for three Springs now, which is quite impressive as I’ve not got a good track record for keeping plants alive, despite my efforts. Mercifully, cowslips are really low maintenance. With that to recommend them why not try and plant some in your own space?
ECOLOGY – Cowslips are native to the UK and are usually found in a boggy, short grassland habitat. Their habitat preference has meant, that unfortunately, their population has declined in the UK since the agricultural changes that occurred after the war. They are pollinated by long tongued bees, butterflies and moths so it might be time to go out at night with a torch and attempt some moth spotting!
NAMES – I had delusions of Cowslips getting their name from some cute cow related thing but, alas, it’s thought they are named after cow dung. Hmmm…. Cowslip also has a range of very sweet and interesting folk names including peggle, key flower, key of heaven, fairy cups, and tittypines (where’s that one come from?!)
COOKING – Wikipedia reliably (?) informs me that cowslip leaves are used in salads in Spain and that English people have used the flowers to flavour wine and vinegar.
MYTHS – In folk medicine cowslip was used to treat rheumatism, gout and even as a sedative! Whilst it is not used to create sedatives today, some herbalists concoct sleep inducing tea from cowslips, and the plant has been found to have a mild narcotic affect! Nicholas Culpeper, a renowned English herbalist of the 17th century, said that women applying cowslip preparations to their faces were likely to become better-looking! Since some herbalists still create cowslip tinctures as a cleanser today, if you’re into natural beauty maybe it’s one to try?