COWSLIP. The American wild flower most commonly called cowslip is the marsh marigold, which is really neither a cowslip nor a fanfold, but belongs to the crowfoot family, In their homesickness the first English colonists, when they saw its golden flowers, gave it the name of the fragrant yellow cowslip that dots English meadows in early spring. The marsh marigold grows in wet ground from the Carolinas to the Arctic, and bears its large, buttercup like blossoms on hollow, branching stems. Its kidney-shaped leaves are often gathered in the spring and cooked as “greens,” like spinach. Another wild flower called the American cowslip is the shooting star; this, like the English cowslip, belongs to the primrose family and bears its flowers in drooping clusters at the end of a leafless stalk, while its leaves are arranged in a flat rosette close to the ground. The flowers, however, are pink, white, or lilac, not yellow. Still another early spring wild flower sometimes called cowslip is the Virginia cowslip, bluebell, or lungwort. It belongs to the borage family and is related to the forget-me-not.
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