As an early flowering plant this species provides nectar for early emerging bees and butterflies which will in turn pollinate the plant. Oxlips were traditionally used to treat coughs and rheumatism, and they were thought to have antibacterial qualities. The specific epithet elatior means “taller”. The common name “oxlip”, from “ox” and “slip”, may refer to the fact that oxlips (and cowslips) are often found in boggy pasture used by cattle.
Often this species needs to be planted just before the frost or needs a long period of cold for Stratification, so its seed dormancy can be overcome.