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Biology

This perennial species is evergreen, but occasionally aestivates (becomes dormant in summer during hot, dry weather) (3). It typically flowers from March to June (5), although it may flower throughout the year in sheltered hedge banks in Cornwall and copses in Sussex (4). Reproduction occurs by seeds, which are dispersed by ants (3). A single primrose plant may live for 15-25 years (4). Primroses have been picked for sale and for decorating churches for generations; this practice was criticised in the 1970s and 1980s, as wild-flower picking became unfashionable due to the concerns of conservationists (4). Various parts of the primrose were used in herbal medicine; the root was used as a reliable and safe emetic (it induces vomiting) and as an antispasmodic, the whole plant was thought to be a sedative, the leaves were used to treat wounds and primrose tea was believed to relieve nervous disorders (6).

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