Cowslip (Primula veris)

There must be 101 reasons to visit Durlston Country Park near Swanage and this is certainly one of them. In the flower meadows at the top of the cliffs this time of year there are countless numbers of Cowslips. The same is true of the neighbouring Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve of Townsend.

Cowslips were once very common. These days they are still found throughout the county in meadows and on grassland, occasionally even in the middle of roundabouts!

Closely related to the Primrose, they are both Primulas and that is where part of the problem lies, Many gardens have cultivated Primula species, especially Polyanthus. Insects visiting these and then going on the wild flowers cause hybridisation and gradually the wild flowers die out.

A meadow full of Cowslips is surely the sign that spring is here.

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