Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Primrose Herbal History
Primrose was once used as an analgesic, particularly to treat arthritic diseases.
Some gardeners believe that primrose will irritate the skin if you touch it's leaves.
For some people this is true of some primroses.
Most varieties have small glandular hairs on the underside of the leaves, which contain a quinone - primetin, which can cause skin irritation if you have demal allergies.
The stamens can also cause this, so some people can suffer from just sniffing the wonderful delicate fragrance.
Primrose flowers were made into a wine, although at a bucket of wildflowers a brew, with the decline of this treasured wildflower there are few places left in Britain where we could afford to lose so many.
Primroses are used to perk up some jams, and also candied to decorate pastries.
Some people chop up the pungent root of primrose and add it to potpourri.
Traditional Primrose Associations and Uses
In Ireland and Wales primroses were thought to be fairy flowers that could give the power of invisibility.
Primrose is used magically as a symbol to meditate upon to draw protection and love, Oil of primrose has been used to cleanse and purify in the Druidic tradition.
Primrose is linked with the Goddess Freya, the planet Venus, and the element Earth.
This wildflower is used to symbolise the beloved guest.
Primrose and Mistletoe are associated with Saille (Willow) in Druidic practice.
The phrase sally-forth comes from the word Saille, in part these plants are symbols for letting inspiration burst forth like willow growth, and were used in the initiation of the Bard.
Primroses the key to fairyland
To touch a fairy stone with a posy of primroses opens the door to fairyland and the magical gifts of the fae folk. It has to be the correct number of blossoms or brings Doom. (Dodgy)
A German legend tells of a little girl who found a flower covered doorway which opened to a magical fairy castle when she touched it with a primrose.
Creating Fairyland at Home
Primroses attract fairies to the garden.
To invite the fairy folk to visit and to get fairy blessings hang a spray of primroses on your door...
Eating primroses is said to help you see fairies.
Celtic lore says rubbing primrose flowers over your eyelids can gie you a way into the fairy word.
Primroses as Fairy Deterrents
Scattering primroses across the threshold create barrier to fairies that is uncrossable.
Unhealthy primroses upset the fairies and it is not recommended to have cross fairies.
Primroses are said to bring sickness and sorrow if kept indoors, perhaps this is because they generally do not grow healthy indoors and upset the fairies (are fairies vengeful?)
Names associated with this plant
This wild plant is sometimes called butter-rose or English cowslip, but usually just primrose.
The word primrose comes fom the latin, and means first rose.
Photography © Kim Park
Isle of Great Bernera - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
21st May, 2006
Visit Kim's web site of her photography of the Western Isles