Folklore of plants: cowslips

Sometimes called “St. Peter’s keys” the cowslip produces a heady scent and it was claimed that it calmed nerves and was a cure for insomnia. Wine can be made from the flower which is said to cure insomnia. A belief in rural areas was that burying the cowslip upside-down produced primroses the following¬† spring. In Wales, maidens tossed bunches of cowslips to each other reciting the names of boys; when the bunch dropped that would be the name of the boy the maiden would marry. In Lincolnshire scattered primroses around maypoles. Other names for the flower include, ‘Our Lady’s cushion’, ‘galligaskins’, ‘jackanapes on horses’ and ‘hose in hose’.

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