Icons of England
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wild primroses

866 of 1157 nominations

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wild primroses

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wild primroses

Beloved of poets, the yellow or cream flowers of the English primrose (Primula vulgaris) can be seen growing wild in English hedgerows and deciduous woodlands. Also a popular choice for cottage gardens, it generally flowers in the spring, its name deriving from the Latin for “first rose”. This lovely flower has a traditional connection with the world of fairies, and has thus been popular with children for generations. It was thought that if they ate the flowers, they would be able to see fairies, and that anyone who touched a rock with primroses would find a route to Fairyland. The plant has seen medicinal service too: the Romans used it for malaria, while herbalists have used the root as an expectorant. More fancifully, the root was also once thought to remove freckles. Butterflies are never far away from the primrose when it blooms, suggesting that humans aren’t the only species to find it irresistible.

NOMINATION 866 OF 1157

Your comments

It is indigenous to the British Isles. It is a perennial. It is natural - not man-made. It represents rural England in particular and most of the nominations pertain to urban England.

jan mangles


They also grow profusely in the hedges and gardens around my home in western France, so they can't really be a purely English icon.
Alex


Because the english primrose represents youth, a new beginning, prime rose meaning 'first flower'. Together with the old English Oak Tree, it symbolises for me, age and youth working together. A picture of pale yellow, youthful primroses nestling between the old gnarled roots of an ancient oak tree. What a symbol of hope for the future!
Pete Perry


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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry

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