Reddish Vale Country Park
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The cowslip is a well known spring flowering plant, which was once much more common than it is today.
The crinkled green leaves are covered on both sides with a layer of fine downy hairs; they form rosettes, which tend to lie close to the ground. A downy flower stalk rises from the centre of this rosette, and is topped with a cluster of 1-30 yellow or buff coloured flowers. The flowers are funnel shaped and have characteristic orange spots at the base of the lobes.
Cowslip derives its name from "cowpat",(Old English "cuslyppe") from where cowslips would spring up. Also known as paigle, key flower, fairy cups and mayflower.
According to legend, St Peter dropped the keys to Heaven and where they landed cowslips grew ( the flowers were thought to resemble a set of keys).
In Norse mythology the plant was dedicated to Odin's wife, Frega, the goddess who held the keys to happiness and love.
Cowslips are believed to be the favourite food of nightingales, who were said only frequent the places where cowslips grew.
Frightened fairies hide in the flowers.
The plant has the ability to split rocks containing treasure and can help you find hidden fairy gold.
Not convinced? try this one, cowslips planted upside down on Good Friday turn into primroses!
If fed on bull's blood they turn red.
Cowslip is rare in the wild, but used to be common in meadows, a census found that less than half of all cowslips are found in their traditional meadow habitats and are found instead by roadside verges.