20. Primula veris Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 142. 1753.
Cowslip primrose Cowslip primrose
Primula officinalis (Linnaeus) Hill
Plants 8-30 cm, herbaceous; rhizomes thick, short; rosettes sometimes clumped, vegetative parts efarinose but often pubescent. Leaves not aromatic, indistinctly or abruptly petiolate; petiole winged; blade with deep reticulate veins abaxially, ovate to ovate-oblong, 5-20 × 2-6 cm, thin, membranaceous in age, margins coarsely toothed, apex acute to obtuse, surfaces pubescent, hairs simple. Inflorescences 5-16-flowered; involucral bracts plane, unequal. Pedicels erect to drooping, moderately thick, 3-20 mm, length 1-3 times bracts, flexuous. Flowers heterostylous; calyx pale green, broadly campanulate, 0.8-2 cm; corolla yellow, with orange spots at base of lobes, tube 8-20 mm, length to 1 times calyx, eglandular, limb 8-28 mm diam., lobes 8-14 mm, apex slightly emarginate to distinctly notched. Capsules ovoid, length to 1 times calyx. Seeds without flanged edges, minutely vesiculate. 2n = 22 (Europe).
Flowering spring. Meadows and pastures, persisting around old gardens and homesteads, apparently substantially spreading and naturalized; 0-1000 m; introduced; B.C., N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., Que.; Conn., Maine, Mass., Mich., N.Y.; Europe.
Primula veris shows exceptional morphological variation in Europe, with multiple specific and infraspecific names. It is a popular garden plant both here and in Europe; horticultural varieties abound and are almost certainly represented among the records from North America.