Common name:
Primula vulgaris
Primulaceae (The Primrose Family)
Flowering period:
hedgerows, roadsides and damp shady places, woodlands, dry calcareous grasslands
Conservation Status:
locally abundant throughout the Burren

Beautiful wild primroses blooming throughout the Burren reminding us that Spring is here and that there are many more blossoms on their way

Short description:

Single pale butter yellow flowers borne on hairy stalks emerging from a central rosette of crinkly pale green toothed leaves

Noteworthy characteristics:

These pale yellow flowers with five lobed shallow notched petals. Leaves are spoon shaped narrowing at the base, wrinkled, pale green.  Primrose flowers come in two different sexual forms, pin-eyed (female stigma visible at the mouth of the flowers), male anthers concealed) and thrum-eyed  (male anthers overtopping the female stigma at the mouth of the flower)– hope to photograph these two types this year!

Uses and other points of interest:

Once the first primroses begin to bloom you know that Spring has arrived!  The generic name Primula  is derived from two Latin words meaning the ‘first rose’ and refers to its early flowering.

The name ‘goslings’ for primrose flowers was recorded from Clonlara in Co Clare, as they were in bloom  at the same time as gosling hatched.

In early Ireland primroses were used in the treatment of gout and muscular rheumatism along with nervous hysteria. The whole plant was considered good for restlessness and insomnia.  Primrose leaves were rubbed into the tooth to relive toothache. An ointment using pig fat and primroses was used in the treatment of cuts, burns and skin conditions.

Both the roots and flowers are delicately scented.

Primroses played a part in May Day celebrations in Ireland in the past, used as decorations and hung over doors and milk buckets as a symbol of good luck to ward off the local fairies.

Personal note:

Such a simple yet very pretty little flower, I am always happy to see primroses return to the Burren landscape each Spring. Much loved, these nostalgic flowers are sadly on the decline in many parts of Ireland largely due  to loss of habitat.  I love their delicate scent. Tread gently where you find these beautiful flowers, be grateful for their presence and enjoy their simple beauty and be sure to embrace their delicate scent.

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