‘Cowslip is not the most elegant of names. It is a polite form of Cowslop … “cow dung”, “cow pat”, obviously from a conception that the cowslip sprang up in the meadow wherever a cow had lifted its tail …. Cowslop or no, the deliciously coloured and deliciously scented flowers make the best and most delicate of country wines’ (Grigson, 1955).
Cowslips are usually gathered from the wild. However, at least one English author was recommending them for cultivation in the herb garden in the early part of the 17th century.