Images: ©Jouko Lehmuskallio

Strict Primrose

Primula stricta

  • Name also: Coastal Primrose
  • Family: Primrose Family – Primulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock very short.
  • Height: 5–20 cm (2–8 in.), in fruit up to 35 cm (14 in.). Stem straight–gently curved, leafless, hairy, top of scape sometimes with sparse glandular hairs (mealy).
  • Flower: Corolla funnel-shaped, purple, with yellow throat, 4–9 mm (0.16–0.36 in.) broad, fused, with thin tube, 5-lobed, lobes with notched tips. Calyx campanulate (bell-shaped), dark-spotted, inner surface with glandular hairs (mealy), lobes tapered. Stamens 5. A single carpel. Inflorescence a dense, 2–8-flowered umbel terminating scape.
  • Leaves: Rosette; stalks about same length as blade, winged. Blade spatulate, base tapered, margin entire or usually with large-toothed tip, especially underside with sparse glandular hairs (mealy).
  • Fruit: 5-valved, 5–8 mm (0.2–0.32 in.) long capsule, much longer than calyx.
  • Habitat: Waterside meadows, stream banks, river banks, coastal rocky outcrops, stony shores.
  • Flowering time: June–July.
  • Endangerment: Endangered.

Strict primrose is easiest to find in Finland in Inari Lapland and north-east Kuusamo. It thrives in poor soils, but cannot grow among thick vegetation. Sporadic spring floods have served to keep its favoured habitats relatively open. The construction of hydroelectric power plants, damming of rivers and regulation of the water height has had grave consequences and it has become rarer in recent years. Transplanting experiments have not been particularly encouraging, so it would be best to keep the plant’s remaining habitats in their natural condition.

Strict primrose grows in Lapland, where the extreme conditions and short summer mean that pollination is a riskier business than it is in the south. This means that its flowers are different from its southern relatives’ in that the styles are fused: the stamens and pistils are at the same level so it can easily self-pollinate and produce seeds without the help of insects.

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