Primula veris (Cowslip)


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.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 900

Life form information

Height (cm): 15

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

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%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


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

Richards (1989