Primrose, a spring-blooming perennial herb. About 400 species grow in cool regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. The primrose is closely related to the common cowslip. It is not a rose, nor is it related to the evening primrose.

Primrose flowersPrimrose flowers have five petals and are borne in clusters on short stems.

The primrose is a low-growing plant. The stems rise from a cluster of conspicuously veined leaves. Its flowers may be pink, yellow, red, blue, or white. They have five petals, usually notched, and are borne in clusters on short stems. Primroses are cultivated in moist, shady rock gardens and borders. The English primrose, native to northern Europe, is about six inches (15 cm) tall and has wrinkled leaves with irregularly notched margins. The polyanthus, with club-shaped leaves, is a hybrid of the English primrose and cowslip. The hairy Chinese primrose and the slender fairy primrose, both native to China, are widely grown in greenhouses.

The English primrose is Primula acaulis, or vulgaris; polyanthus, P. X polyantha; Chinese, P. sinensis; fairy, P. malacoides. All belong to the primrose family, Primulaceae.