The cowslips at Sun Rising are now reaching their peak, and they are alive with the hum of hundreds of bees. And that is one of the most valuable qualities of the cowslip: as a true native, growing in such abundance, it is a delight for the many insects. They seem to fall lazily from one flower to the next, filling themselves with nectar, increasingly covered in pollen.
The name ‘cowslip’ isn’t quite so pretty! It comes from cowpats, or cowslop – as the plants will happily grow up through a pat in the old meadow pastures. Other names for the cowslip are Key of Heaven, or St Peter’s Keys, or Herb Peter, as they are connected with the saint. Other names are peggle, buckle, crewel or plumrock, although why, I couldn’t say! The botanical name, Primula veris, speaks of its emergence at this time of spring.
If it’s of interest to those stuck at home with frustrated little one, old herbalists will tell you that they are good for calming hyperactive children. Certainly, standing (or sitting) amongst them, with the hum of bees and the soft sunshine, they add to the peace here in the wildflower meadow.