Primrose, or Primula, L. a genus of plants comprising 19 species ; four of which are indigenous : the following are the principal :
1. The vulgaris, or Common Primrose, is perennial, grows in woods, hedges, thickets, and on heaths; it flowers in the months of April and May.—The blossoms of this species form an ingredient in pectoral teas; and the young leaves may be eaten in the spring among other culinary herbs.—Bees visit the odoriferous flowers, which are also said to impart briskness to wines. The roots, immersed in a cask of beer, or ale, render it much stronger.— Linnaeus asserts, that silk-worms may be fed with its leaves.—Sheep and goats eat this plant; but cows do not relish it, and it is wholly refused by horses and hogs
2. The veris. See Cowslip.
3. The Polyanthus, a beautiful exotic species, which is cultivated in gardens, on account of its fragrance. It is one of the earliest spring flowers, and numerous varieties have been raised by gardeners ; some of which are so greatly admired, as to be sold at one guinea per root. These are propagated from seed, which ought to be sown in December, in boxes of light rich earth, and slightly covered. When the young plants appear, they must be sheltered from the heat of the meridian sun 3 and, if the spring be dry, it will be requisite to water, and keep them in the shade.—In the month of May, they may be removed into rich shady borders, that have previously been manured with neats'-dung, where they are to be set at the distance of four inches till they have taken root.
Here they must be carefully weed" ed ; and, towards the end of August, they should be finally transplanted into borders of rich, light earth, in rows of six inches apart, and occasionally watered. At an early period of the succeeding spring, the plants will flower; and, it intended to be preserved, it will be necessary to remove them, when their time of blowing is past, into another border of similar soil; where, being weeded, and sheltered during the winter, they will produce strong and beautiful flowers in the following spring.