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Primula vulgaris - Huds.                
                 
Common Name Primrose, Common Primrose, English Primrose
Family Primulaceae
Synonyms P. acaulis.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woods and hedgerows on acid and calcareous soils[4, 17]. Also found in the open on north-facing slopes in south-western England[31].
Range Western Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: Lavender, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Primula vulgaris is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Dec to May, and the seeds ripen from Apr to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : 5-10


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Primula vulgaris Primrose, Common Primrose, English Primrose


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fornax
Primula vulgaris Primrose, Common Primrose, English Primrose
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pokrajac
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow; Hedgerow;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb, added to soups etc[2, 177, 183]. A mild flavour, though the texture is a bit tough[K]. The leaves are often available all through the winter[K]. Flowers - raw or cooked. They make an attractive garnish to salads[4, 183, 238, K], and can also be used as a cooked vegetable or in conserves etc[4, 183]. Picked when first opened, the flowers are fermented with water and sugar to make a very pleasant and intoxicating wine[2]. Both the flowers and the leaves can be made into a syrup or a tea[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne;  Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Emetic;  Sedative;  Vermifuge.

Primroses have a very long history of medicinal use and has been particularly employed in treating conditions involving spasms, cramps, paralysis and rheumatic pains[238]. They are, however, considered to be less effective than the related P. veris[238]. The plant contains saponins, which have an expectorant effect, and salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin and have anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects[238]. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women, patients who are sensitive to aspirin, or those taking anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin[238]. The roots and the flowering herb are anodyne, antispasmodic, astringent, emetic, sedative and vermifuge[4]. An infusion of the roots is a good remedy against nervous headaches[4]. The roots are harvested in the autumn when two or three years old and dried for later use[4]. An ointment has been made from the plant and used for treating skin wounds[244].
Other Uses
Makes a good carpet in open woodland and on woodland edges[24, 31]. Plants are best spaced about 35cm apart each way[208].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Container, Ground cover, Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a medium to heavy moisture retentive humus rich loam in a cool position with light to medium shade[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -25°c[187]. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties[187]. The blooms have a characteristic fragrance of a mossy bank or a deciduous woodland[245]. This species hybridizes readily with P. elatior[17]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[133]. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame[1]. Germination is inhibited by temperatures above 20°c[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in autumn. This is best done every other year[200].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Huds.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[24]Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden.
Fairly good with lots of ideas about creating wildlife areas in the garden.
[31]Brown. Shade Plants for Garden and Woodland.
[133]Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[187]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2.
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[208]Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover
An excellent detailled book on the subject, very comprehensive.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Sun Aug 24 2008
I've just found this on the BBC site, and it gives flowering time as March to May, which seems a lot more likely.
Elizabeth H.
tiggsy Sun Aug 24 2008
Is the flowering period given accurate? I don't see how seeds can ripen from april to august, if the flowers are on between December and May. Surely it should be April to December?
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