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Primroses Primula vulgaris 

Primroses are one of my favourite flowers - both the leaves and flowers are edible.


Primroses, which bloom from early spring into summer, may be endangered in some areas but are abundant here and in many parts of Ireland.

They seem to like ditches and hedgerows and also thrive in hilly areas.  The name comes from prima rosa, meaning the “first rose” in old French and medieval Latin.  


There are main strains of cultivated primrose, known as polyanthus, which have been bred for early spring colour in the garden and are also edible.

How to Grow

Having first checked that primroses are not endangered in your area, dig up a little plant in the wild and plant it in a verge around your property.  It may well naturalise and spread, as it does here.  You can also buy seeds of wild primrose.  

Primrose do best in moist but well-drained soil and they enjoy light shade.


Just pick what you need for a little posy or to use in the kitchen.

Good for you….

Primroses have a history of medicinal use, but this comes with a health warning as they contain a substance called salicylates, which would be detrimental to those with an allergy to aspirin or who have blood coagulation problems.  The ol from its seeds contains gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. 

In the Kitchen

Both flowers and leaves are edible; the leaves can be used for tea and the young flowers made into primrose wine.  The flowers are particularly pretty when crystallised and can be used to decorate iced cakes, but we also mix the leaves into the salad bowl and scatter them over panna cotta and buttermilk puddings.

This is a recipe by
Darina Allen
View all my recipes

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