Spiritual Gardens- Northern Primrose

2 min readAug 27, 2023

Found on land of Solel Congregation, the Northern Evening Primrose is a plant of many uses. Often confused with the common evening primrose, the northern variety has key characteristics that differ from common primrose.

The evening primrose in its various forms is native to eastern and central North America. It is widely spread across North America and has a secure conservation status. The popular product primrose oil is produced from this plant.

Identify the Northern Evening Primrose

  • Elongated spike at top of stem
  • Dense opening of leafy bracts
  • Flowers have no stalk
  • Narrowed flower neck between the ovary and base of sepals
  • Narrowed neck can be over an inch long
  • Flowers are 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches across with 4 yellow and heart shaped petals
  • 8 yellow stamens
  • The 4 sepals are light green and narrow
  • Leaves have small teeth or are toothless
  • Leaves have red or white veins
  • Stalk leaves can be 3–10 inches long and 1–1 1/2 inches wide
  • Stems are mostly unbranched with red short hairs
  • Northern primrose has smaller flowers and a ridge below sepals. This differentiates it from common primrose.

Edible Uses

  • Primrose leaves can be eaten fresh or dry and are known to taste like lettuce
  • Roots are used when dried to create tea
  • Primrose flowers can be used as an edible garnish on dishes
  • Seeds of Northern Primrose have a 15% protein conent, and 24% oil content
  • Primrose seeds and oil can be used as a dietary supplement, as they are rich in necessary amino-acids and linoleic acids


The evening primrose has many nicknames throughout history. Here are some listed below:

  • King’s cure-all
  • Evening star
  • Sun drop
  • Fever plant
  • Hog weed
  • German rampion
  • Evening rose

Medicinal uses (England, Ireland, North America)

  • Primrose roots have been made into poultices to treat headaches
  • Dried flowers and leaves are made into tea headaches and toothaches
  • Pig lard and primrose oil can be combined to treat burns
  • Horses with coughs received crushed primrose to cure them
  • Primrose was touted as a cure for jaundice
  • Primrose and cork tea was used to treat insomnia
  • Evening primrose tea was used to treat menstrual pain or bowel pain

Myths (Ireland)

  • Primrose was associated with the faeries
  • Primroses were placed at doorsteps to bless a household
  • The primrose blossom was considered a symbol of safety and protection
  • Ancient Celtic tales claimed a large patch of primroses was a gateway into the faerie realm
  • Primroses were also used to protect against faeries on May Eve. It was believed faeries were thieves, and decorating your door would prevent them from stealing.
  • The Druids carried primrose to ward off evil
  • Primrose oil was used to anoint in Druid rituals