Cowslips (Primula Veris) Identification

Cowslips / Spring / Summer / Edible

Cowslips (Primula Veris) Identification

A common herbaceous, perennial flowering plant.

Common Names

Cowslips, Herb Peter.

Botanical Name

Primula Veris

Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae

Order – Ericales

Family – Primulaceae

Physical Characteristics for Cowslips


Dark green, long and crinkly. 5-10cm long.

Tomasz Kuran aka Meteor2017, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Trumpet-shaped, bright yellow with five petals, many flowers on each stem.

T. Kebert, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Grassy areas, parks, meadows, especially areas used for grazing cows.

Known Hazards

None Known

Could be Confused with…

Primrose looks very similar but only produces one flower per stem. It is also edible with a similar flavour.

Edible Uses

The leaves are slightly bitter but can be used in salads or cooked like spinach. The flowers have a lovely citrusy flavour and look great in salads or used as a garnish. They have also been traditionally used to flavour ‘country’ wines and for cowslip pudding, an old English dish.

T. Kebert, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Notes on Herbal Uses

A tea made from the flowers has traditionally been used to treat a wide range of ailments including bronchitis, insomnia, heart failure and asthma.

Click here to learn the best way to make herbal infusions.

Extra notes from the Foragers

The name cowslip is an old English word for a cow pat, where this plant can quite often be found growing.

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