You'll no doubt have noticed all the beautiful primroses dotting the Fife Coastal Path . Our volunteer Ron has a good knowledge of these and he's written a great piece about them - check it out right here:
The common primrose (Primula vulgaris) is a native species of flowering plant belonging to the family Primulacae and is found throughout the UK. It is a perennial which grows to 10-30cm in height and has a basal rosette of leaves and generally produces pale yellow flowers with orange centres, although white or pink forms sometimes occur naturally.
The primrose is one of the earliest spring flowers, usually appearing in March and lasting into May, but can occur earlier in favourable conditions. The name “primrose” derives from the Latin “prima rosa” or “first rose,” though it is not a close relative of the rose family. It may be found in a wide variety of habitats around Fife, ranging from open grassland, railway embankments, roadside verges, wood clearings and hedgerows, etc., though it has a preference for damp, clayey soils.
Being a favourite garden plant has resulted in many cultivated varieties being produced, though in the wild it has suffered from over-picking and theft.
Both the flower and the leaves of the plant are edible. In earlier times the flowers were a chief ingredient in a pottage
known as primrose pottage. The leaves make a good tea and young flowers can be made into primrose wine.
The medicinal values of the primrose are well known. In former times the plant was considered an important remedy for muscular rheumatism, paralysis and gout. The whole plant is reputed to have a sedative like effect and the flowers were used to treat nervous hysterical disorders. In modern times the root has been used as a herbal remedy against nervous headaches. The leaves can be made into an effective salve for wounds and abrasions.
April 19th is known as Primrose Day on account of the flower being a favourite of former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. It is said that Queen Victoria sent him bunches of primroses on his birthday and on other occasions. Every year on the anniversary of his death primroses are laid at his statue by Westminster Abbey in remembrance of him, with the result this date has become traditionally known as “Primrose Day!”