Primula veris L., Sp. Pl. 142 1753. (syn. Primula officinalis (L.) Hill; Primula veris var. officinalis L.);
Primula veris (cowslip, common cowslip; syn. Primula officinalis Hill) is a flowering plant in the genus Primula of the family Primulaceae. The species is native throughout most of temperate Europe and Asia.
This species frequently hybridizes with other Primulas such as Primula vulgaris to form False Oxslip (Primula x polyantha) which is often confused with true Oxslip (Primula elatior) which is a much rarer plant. Botanists have found no less than twenty-five of these hybrid-forms in the Austrian Alps.
The common name cowslip may derive from the old English for cow dung, probably because the plant was often found growing amongst the manure in cow pastures. An alternative derivation simply refers to slippery or boggy ground; again, a typical habitat for this plant.
Primula veris is a variable evergreen or semi-evergreen perennial plant growing to 25 cm (10 in) tall and broad, with a rosette of leaves 5–15 cm long and 2–6 cm broad. The deep yellow flowers are produced in spring, in clusters of 10-30 blooms together on a single stem. Each flower is 9–15 mm broad. Red-flowered plants occur rarely.
The cowslip is frequently found on more open ground than the primrose, including open fields, meadows, coastal dunes and clifftops.
(From Wikipedia on 14.6.14)