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Bird's-eye Primrose

Primula farinosa

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Primulaceae (Primrose)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
25 centimetres tall
Fens, gardens, grassland, meadows, moorland.

Pink, 5 petals
Mauve or lilac-coloured flowers with a yellow eye, 5 notched petals and 5 stamens. The flowers are arranged in an umbel. The yellow spot (or eye) in the centre of the flower gives the Bird's-eye Primrose its common name. This flower is popular with Skipper butterflies.
A narrow capsule, up to 8mm in length.
A small and dainty plant with a basal rosette of narrow and short-stalked leaves. The leaves are hairless and silvery white since they are covered in a white powder called 'ferina', hence the Latin name of Bird's-eye Primrose, Primula farinosa.
Other Names:
Mealy Primrose, The Yorkshire Primrose.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Primula farinosa, commonly known as mealy primrose, is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is widely distributed across the Northern Hemisphere. The plant is known for its bright yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and its rosette of leaves that grow close to the ground. The leaves are usually hairy and have a mealy coating of farina, that gives a bluish-green appearance. This plant is a low-growing, mat-forming perennial that can reach up to 25cm tall. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and cool, shaded conditions. The mealy primrose is considered as a hardy plant and it can tolerate drought and frost. It is also used as an ornamental plant and is grown for its attractive flowers and low-growing habit.


Primula farinosa, also known as the Bird's-eye Primrose, is a stunning wildflower that is native to many parts of Europe and Asia. This lovely plant is a member of the Primulaceae family, and it produces delicate, five-petaled flowers in a range of hues that range from pale lilac to deep purple.

The Bird's-eye Primrose is a hardy perennial that thrives in cool, moist climates. It typically grows to be between 10 and 25 centimeters tall, and it produces a basal rosette of dark green, slightly hairy leaves that are deeply toothed. The flowers of this plant appear on short stems in late spring or early summer, and they are a favorite of pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

One of the most striking features of the Bird's-eye Primrose is the distinctive yellow center of its flowers, which resembles a bird's eye. This gives the plant its common name, and it is a feature that makes it easily recognizable in the wild. The flowers themselves are cup-shaped, and they are arranged in clusters at the top of the stems.

While the Bird's-eye Primrose is primarily found in the wild, it is also a popular garden plant. It is well-suited to rock gardens, woodland gardens, and other areas where the soil is moist and well-drained. It is a relatively easy plant to care for, and it requires only moderate amounts of water and sunlight to thrive.

In addition to its beauty, the Bird's-eye Primrose has a number of traditional medicinal uses. In some cultures, it is used to treat coughs, colds, and other respiratory ailments. The leaves of the plant are also used to make a tea that is said to be soothing to the nerves.

The Bird's-eye Primrose is a hardy plant that can survive in a range of soil types, including acidic, neutral, and alkaline soils. It prefers soils that are moist and well-drained, and it can grow in full sun or partial shade. In the wild, it is commonly found in meadows, along stream banks, and in other damp habitats.

This plant is also well-known for its ability to self-seed, which means that it can reproduce easily without human intervention. The seeds of the Bird's-eye Primrose are small and lightweight, and they can be carried long distances by the wind. This makes it a useful plant for naturalizing areas, as it can spread quickly and easily.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, the Bird's-eye Primrose is also a valuable food source for wildlife. The leaves of the plant are a favorite of grazing animals such as sheep and cattle, while the nectar-rich flowers attract a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths.

Unfortunately, like many other wildflowers, the Bird's-eye Primrose is threatened by habitat loss and other environmental factors. In some areas, it is protected by conservation laws, and efforts are underway to preserve its natural habitats and ensure its survival.

The Bird's-eye Primrose has also been the subject of folklore and superstition in many cultures throughout history. In some traditions, it was believed that the plant had the power to ward off evil spirits and protect against witchcraft. In others, it was used as a symbol of love and affection, and it was given as a gift to express romantic feelings.

Interestingly, the Bird's-eye Primrose was also used in the production of a purple dye known as "primuline." This dye was commonly used in the textile industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was highly valued for its vibrant color.

Today, the Bird's-eye Primrose remains a popular ornamental plant for gardens and landscaping, as well as a valued wildflower in natural areas. It is relatively easy to grow and care for, and its delicate beauty and distinctive appearance make it a standout in any setting. Whether you are a gardener, a nature lover, or simply a fan of beautiful flowers, the Bird's-eye Primrose is a plant that is well worth exploring and appreciating.

In addition to its traditional medicinal uses, the Bird's-eye Primrose has also been studied for its potential health benefits in modern times. Research has shown that the plant contains several compounds that may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it may have potential uses in the treatment of conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and certain types of cancer.

Some studies have also suggested that the Bird's-eye Primrose may have benefits for mental health, including the potential to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. While more research is needed to fully understand the plant's potential uses in these areas, these findings highlight the continued importance of this plant in both traditional and modern medicine.

Overall, the Bird's-eye Primrose is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and a wide range of uses. Whether you appreciate it for its beauty, its medicinal properties, or its potential health benefits, this lovely wildflower is sure to capture your imagination and inspire your curiosity. With its delicate flowers, distinctive yellow centers, and hardy nature, the Bird's-eye Primrose is a plant that will continue to captivate and enchant us for generations to come.


Birdseye Primrose filmed along at Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve, Carnforth, Lancashire on the 2nd June 2022.


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