Primula veris (Cowslip)


Summary Information


A perennial herb of well-drained, herb-rich grasslands on mesic to calcareous soils; less commonly on seasonally flooded soils, in scrub or woodland rides and edges, and on calcareous cliffs. 0-750 m (Knock Ore Gill, Westmorland), and exceptionally at 845 m (Great Dun Fell, Westmorland).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element.


Photos Information


Habitats Information

Broad Habitats

Neutral grassland (includes coarse Arrhenatherum grassland)
Calcareous grassland (includes lowland and montane types)

Light (Ellenberg): 7 Information

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4 Information

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7 Information

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3 Information

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0 Information

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7 Information

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.2 Information

Annual Precipitation (mm): 900 Information

Life Form

Life Form Information

Height (cm): 15

Perennation - primary


Perennation - secondary

Life Form - primary


Life Form - secondary



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Clonality - secondary


Distribution Information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1632

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 369

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 6

Atlas Change Index: -0.32

Weighted Changed Factor: 9

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Conservation Status

Conservation Status Information

Plantatt Conservation Status

Other Accounts

Other Accounts Information


References Information

PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections.
A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (201a) Antrobus S, Lack AJ.  1993.  Genetics of colonising and established populations of Primula veris. Heredity. 71:252-258. Curtis TGF, McGough HN.  1988.  The Irish Red Data Book. 1. Vascular Plants. Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R.  1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology. Hultén E, Fries M.  1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols. McKee J, Richards AJ.  1998.  The effect of temperature on reproduction in five Primula species. Annals of Botany. 82:359-374. Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E.  1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Richards (1989