The Cowslip is known by many names: Buckles, Key Flower, Mayflower, Paigles, Palsywort, Petty Mulleins and Plumrocks - to name a few!

Cowslips in Oxwich

Also known as the Fairycup, stories told of fairies taking shelter from rain storms, beneath the plants' parasol-shaped blooms.

Edmund Canterbell wrote:

"That they do dwell within the cowslips hollow is truth, for I have seen them fly out in intoxicated abandon."

The flowers are also supposed to be the keys which reveal and unlock fairy treasure. 

Once abundant in Britain, the Cowslip was traditionally collected by the basketful, to flavour Cowslip wine. Meanwhile, children created Cowslip-balls for a number of customary games and superstitions, from the tightly packed flowerheads, tied by ribbon or string. 

As the traditional flower of Beltane (May Day), Cowslips were also used as maypole garlands.

Unfolding to the breeze of May,
The Cowslip greets the vernal ray:
The topaz and the ruby gem,
Her blossoms' simple diadem;
And as the dew-drops gently fall,
They tip with pearls her coronal.

- anonymous.

In Wales, long stalks on cowslips mean a wet summer is forecast, and short stalks, a dry one.

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