OXLIP – FALSE: Primula veris x vulgaris: Primulaceae
The plant: created by cross pollination of cowslips and primrose by insects – it is a hybrid of these two. It is found where the cowslip and primrose are seen together although it is much less common than the parent plants.
The flowers: These are primrose like, about fifteen mm across and, like the cowslip, there can be many such flowers in an umbel at the end of each flowering stem. The flowers are arranged circumferentially at the end of the stem unlike the true oxlip – a rare plant seen only in East Anglia – where the umbel is on one side only of the stem. Flowers in April/May just like the parents.
The leaves: These are exactly like the cowslip.
Names, mythology, uses and folk-lore: Bedlam cowslip, bullslop, covey keys, fairies’ keys, milk maid, five fingers are all names described for the plant. I could find no herbal uses for the plant described although one suspects that there may be an overlap with the parent plants – including the wine making assuming enough of them can be found. Grigson is dismissive of the plant: he says it lacks the charm of either parent and of the true oxlip or Paigle.