Cuy Lippe, Herb Peter, Paigle, Key Flower, Key of Heaven, Fairy Cups, Petty Mulleins, Crewel, Buckles, Palsywort, Plumrocks, Mayflower
The cowslip is a hardy perennial and member of the primrose family. Cowslips are a native wild flower to Britain most often found in hedgerows and meadows. They have tall stems with clusters of small yellow tubular shaped flowers, which grow above rosettes of mid-green oval shaped leaves.
Average height: 25cm
Aspect: Partial Shade
Soil type: Humus-rich. Best grown on limestone or chalk soils.
Sowing period: Late autumn or early winter
First signs of blossom: Early spring
Average flowering period: 2 months
Contents: Approximately 50 seeds
When sowing in seed trays, cover with glass, or use a cold frame to ensure that the winter rain does not waterlog the seeds. Cowslip seeds benefit from getting a frost to aid germination. This can take place after 21 days, but is erratic, and requires patience. Most often the seeds will germinate the spring after an autumn sowing, when the temperature and light has increased sufficiently. Cowslips like a moist, but not wet soil.
Pick flowers just after they have opened, ideally once the morning dew has passed so that they are already dry and ready for use, particularly if you are going to crystallise them or use them for flower sugar. If you are picking them a few hours before use, place the stems in a glass of water to keep them fresh and prevent wilting.