Tuesday 30 April 2013

Cowslips - Beauty Among the Beasts

I went for a walk in the countryside last weekend and, crossing over a style, I found myself in a meadow full of lovely yellow cowslips. How beautiful!, I thought. Then I realised the meadow was also full of cow pats. Not quite so beautiful.

However, the common name for this lovely yellow spring flower does actually come from the old English for cow dung, because it mainly grows in manure in pastures in which cows graze. You can see it thrives on cow dung from the photo above.

Cowslips used to be very common - and were picked to be eaten in salads or used to flavour vinegar. According to folklore, wearing a sprig of cowslips will help keep you young. Magically, if you hold a sprig of cowslips in your hand you will increase your chance of finding buried treasure, should you be looking for it.

Nowadays cowslips are quite rare due to changes in the ways cows are farmed, so do not pick wild cowslips if you see them out and about - just leave them where they are. If you want to try eating them, wearing them or using them for treasure-seeking, buy a packet of wildflower seeds that contains cowslips and plant them in your own garden.

Links and related posts
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourcebook Series)

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