The Return of the Lowly and Lovely Cowslip


Image from english-country-garden.com

The cowslip is a lowly and lovely wildflower that grows in pastures in the English countryside. The primula (veris) had disappeared from the fields due to intensive farming. Farmers were clearing fields to increase the number of cattle that they could graze.

As a result, only 3% of the wildflowers' natural habitat has survived. But now farmers are grazing fewer animals and that means less intensive eating and longer grasses. So the traditional wildflowers are having a come-back.
Image from fenlandwalker birding and countryside blog

In order to encourage its revival, the government has been paying a 100% subsidy to farmers who grow it. A seed company near Somerset has grown 3 acres of it and will be harvesting it by hand and selling it to other farmers. Sheep and cattle like its sweet smell and taste. We love to look at it.

It grows in meadows and pastures in cow manure. Hence the old english name for it, from a old English saying, "Cu-sloppe." It's all part of a trend to revive and retain native species that are being wiped-out due to the demands of mass agriculture and the loss of knowledge about countryside heritage. The Times

Tags: Agriculture | Conservation | Farming

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