Primrose

©Neil Wyatt

Primrose

Scientific name: Primula vulgaris
In mild years, the spring-flowering Primrose can appear as early as December. Look out for its pretty, creamy-yellow flowers in woodlands and grasslands.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 20cm

Conservation status

Protected in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife Order, 1985.

When to see

December to May

About

A hardy little plant, the Primrose can flower from as early as December in mild years, appearing all the way through the spring until May. It favours woodland clearings, hedgerows and grassland habitats, and sometimes even gardens. Primroses are the foodplant of the caterpillars of the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly, which is a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. Since Victorian times, April 19th has been known as 'Primrose Day' in honour of the late Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli; Primroses, his favourite flowers, are placed at his statue in Westminster Abbey and his grave at Hughenden in Buckinghamshire.

How to identify

Primroses are low-growing plants with rough, tongue-like leaves that grow in a rosette. Their flowers are large and creamy, with deep yellow centres, and often appear clustered together.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The Primrose's common name comes from the Latin 'prima rosa', meaning 'first rose' and describing its early spring flowering.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and woodland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time, scrub clearance and coppicing are just some of the ways grasslands and woodlands are kept in good condition. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.