One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A European primula with clusters of drooping fragrant yellow flowers in spring, growing on dry grassy banks and in pasture.
Primula veris, family Primulaceae
- ‘Primroses, cowslips and swallows are everywhere and the softening in the weather is a sure sign that brighter and warmer days are near.’
- ‘We received data on places around the UK where cowslips, primroses and false oxlips are growing.’
- ‘In spring, the pale, delicate yellows of stiff cowslips are succeeded by the stronger chromes of sprawling birdsfoot trefoil and buttercup.’
- ‘The two acre garden is fresh with scent and the colours of cowslips and foxgloves.’
- ‘The crocus, the cowslip and its near relation, the primrose and the other early wild flowers will soon follow.’
- ‘Mr Slaney said cowslips and primroses have flourished and a pond has developed naturally and become a haven for wildlife.’
- ‘In the damp fields surrounding the streams I found cowslip, self heal and mayflower.’
- ‘Then I noticed a small clump of cowslips growing wild at the foot of a tree by the lake.’
- ‘Primula florindae, the Himalayan cowslip, was the next in the sequence to flower, starting in late June and finishing at the end of July.’
- ‘One section of the garden is devoted to wildflowers, bluebells nodding gently in the breeze, surrounded by cowslips and violets.’
- ‘The land was quiet and pleasant, with teasels, cowslips, bluebells, and dark soil ridged for spuds or glowing with oil seed rape.’
- ‘There are flowers running the gamut from native wildflowers such as the cowslip to exotic foreigners.’
- ‘Banks of primroses, drifts of bluebells and clusters of cowslips are now found only in secret, out-of-the-way places.’
- ‘We rounded the corner and there, in the sunlight, was a vision of massed giant Tibetan cowslips, a beautiful saffron.’
- ‘I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding cowslip grow.’
- ‘The P. veris of Linnaeus's time is still to this day known as the cowslip.’
- ‘Every year the fields and banks near Down House are dotted with cowslips and primroses, all members of the genus Primula.’
- ‘And there's another fine view of the village from above if you walk up the hillside nearby and sit among the cowslips.’
- ‘Primrose, cowslip, lady's mantle, bugle, thrift, clustered bellflower are widely available in garden centres, but are all natives.’
- ‘If you're lucky you might just see some cowslips and the last of the snow drops.’
2Any of a number of herbaceous plants.
another term for marsh marigold
(also 'Virginia bluebell') a North American plant with blue flowers (Mertensia virginica, family Boraginaceae).
- ‘A dewdrop fell from the petal of a lone cowslip growing by the garden wall.’
- ‘Other partners for pink daffodils include lavender cowslips.’
Old English cūslyppe, from cū ‘cow’ + slipa, slyppe ‘slime’, i.e. cow slobber or dung.
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