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Birdseye Primrose

Primula farinosa

  • Written also: Bird’s-eye Primrose
  • Family: Primrose Family – Primulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock short, erect–oblique, many-rooted.
  • Height: 5–30 cm (2–12 in.). Stem curved, leafless, hairy, scape also with glandular hairs (mealy).
  • Flower: Corolla regular, funnel-shaped, light purple (occasionally purplish red or white), with yellow throat, 8–16 mm (0.32–0.64 in.) wide, fused, narrow-tubed, 5-lobed, lobes with notched tips. Calyx narrowly campanulate, with glandular hairs (mealy), lobes with roundish tips. Stamens 5. Pistil a fused carpel. Inflorescence a dense, approx. 20-flowered umbel terminating scape.
  • Leaves: In rosette; stalk shorter than blade, winged. Blade usually obovate, occasionally lanceolate, with tapered base, entire or shallowly toothed margins, often slightly revolute, underside mealy.
  • Fruit: Narrow, longer than calyx, approx. 8 mm (0.32 in.) long capsule.
  • Habitat: Damp meadows, fens, pastures.
  • Flowering time: June.
  • Endangerment: Endangered.

In birdseye primrose’s south-western habitat there is no danger of confusing it with other species because other similar primroses such as strict primrose (coastal primrose, P. stricta) and protected Siberian primrose (P. nutans, syn. P. siberica) are northern species. Birdseye primrose grows in Finland almost solely on the Åland Islands. Other stands in the south-western archipelago now seem to have officially disappeared, although an enthusiastic botanist might find it in Houtskari or Nauvo.

Birdseye primrose grows in Finland in boggy fens and low-growing, damp meadows near the sea, although it is not a real salt plant. It is more inclined towards rich and alkaline or neutral soils. Nowadays the species is often found along ditch banks and field margins, in memory of its former habitat. The draining of wetlands and clearing of fields has decreased birdseye primrose’s habitat considerably. There is not so much shoreside grazing and the eutrophication of the Baltic also favours tall plants, and birdseye primrose does not like being in the shadows that they cast. The species has thus declined markedly.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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