The Cowslip is an extremely well known and popular wild flower whose numbers declined dramatically between the 1950s and the 1980s. The Cowslip grows to a height of 20-30 cm when in full flower, with leaves that go up to 10-15cm. It produces delicate yellow flowers 1-2cm, usually between March and May.
Its preferred habitat is open grassland either slightly alkali or neutral in nature. It also requires a generous amount of light in order to flower and is not successful in woodlands or under tall plants.
Cowslips are found both in dry and in continuously moist conditions and in short grasslands. The cowslip is a must for almost all non-acidic open grassland sites. The plant forms a key component of spring flowering grasslands and can be used to create cowslip meadows in ordinary turf grass. It can also be planted at the front of herbaceous borders.
The cowslips are allowed to flower and cutting can start either at the end of flowering in May or after seed set in June. Thereafter the lawn can be kept short.
They provide a valuable food source for bees and are the larval host plant for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, as well as an important nectar source.