When primroses (Primula vulgaris) and cowslips (Primula veris) are in flower then telling the difference between these two spring flowers is the essence of simplicity. Whilst the primrose has classic open flowers, the clowslip has a number of smaller, bellshaped flowers attached to a stem held high above the plant.
However when these two plants aren’t in flower, identification becomes rather more difficult due to the similar appearance of the leaves.
However there *is* a way to tell the difference between the foliage of the cowslip and the primrose and that is to look towards the base of the leaf. In primroses, the leaf gently tapers down to a point while in the cowslip the leaf tapers down far quicker leaving only a very narrow area of leaf towards the leaf base.
The photos below help to illustrate the difference in foliage of these two similar-looking plants to help you to easy differentiate them.