Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Oxlip, cowslip, primrose and false oxlip

A simple guide on how to tell the difference between the Spring primula family is as follows …

The Primrose, Primula vulgaris – is the shortest of the plants with pale yellow flowers with slightly darker centres growing singularly on short stems. It likes to grow in shady places. Its leaves are oval, crinkly-edged and fairly even.

Primrose - Primula vulgaris

Primrose – Primula vulgaris

The Cowslip, Primula veris – is long-stemmed, up to 25 cm. The flowers form in groups on the top of the stems. The petals are small and a deep golden yellow.

cowslip - Primula veris

Cowslip – Primula veris

The Oxlip, Primula elatior – is usually shorter than the cowslip, growing up to 20 cm. It is quite rare and is mostly resident in South East England. It is easy to spot as its flowers, which sit on the top of the stem, all face the same direction.

Oxlip - Primula elatior

Oxlip – Primula elatior

The False oxlip, Primula veris x vulgaris as its Latin name suggests, is in fact, a hybrid formed from the close proximity of a cowslip and primrose producing seedlings of sturdy flowers. These grow the same height as the Oxlip but their umbels fall in all directions similar to its cowslip parent.

False oxlip - Primula veris x vulgaris

False oxlip – Primula veris x vulgaris

These beautiful False oxlips suddenly appeared in my garden. It was a lovely surprise as I have had both primroses and cowslips for many years and it is the first time that they have produced a mixed off-spring and what wonderful plants they are.


Ann said...

Great info, now if I can only remember it :) I'm so bad at remembering the names of plants and flowers. Even the stuff that I have growing in my yard


They are beautiful! I need to get to my gardening myself! I wish I could remember all the names like you do!

jeanlivingsimple said...

Huh...I am sure similar plants grow here. Thanks for the info!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

I actually found two of what you call cowslip in my garden yesterday. I think I bought them at least 5 years ago and they finally bloomed. Nice surprise. Here, we call the marsh marigold the cowslip.

Russ said...

I am like Ann. Can't even remember the names of the flowers in our garden. My wife can. All I know is that these flowers are very pretty.

Anonymous said...

I was interested in your comment re: oxlip flowers all facing in the same direction, I have some from a reputable wildflower company, however they are very variable and only one of them looks like a 'true' oxlip or at least what I understood to be, but its flowers are very much a pompom many of the others are definitely P. elatior x vulgars. I'm hear because I too found a P. veris x vulgaris yesterday in a clump that came from a handful of seed I scattered from a few parent P. veris. As you say they are very beautiful. I'm told they're sterile unlike P. elatior x vulgars unfortunately. Thanks, Jim