Primroses

 

 

Nepal 1987
Annapurna 2007
The primrose genus probably evolved in the Himalaya, where at least 62 species are found. These pictures show Primula denticulata, which is abundant in forest clearings and grassy areas between 1,500 and 4,500 metres altitude, from Afghanistan eastwards to Myanmar. As a rule, the inflorescences of this species, which is very variable, become larger and denser with higher altitude. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 2008
Uttarakhand 2008
The generic name Primula is a diminutive of the Latin prima (’first’), referring to the early flowering of several primrose species. The upper picture shows Primula irregularis, partly covered by newly fallen snow, Helambu, central Nepal. In the lower picture, a frozen waterdrop is hanging down from a Primula sessilis flower. Snow, which fell on the plant the previous evening, partly melted, but froze again during the night. – Dodi Tal, Uttarakhand, India. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Bornholm 2017
Bornholm 2017
The name ‘cowslip’ was first given to Primula veris, which is common across northern Eurasia. According to some authorities, ‘cowslip’ is a corruption of an Old English word, cuslyppe, meaning ‘cow dung’. This probably refers to the favoured habitat of this species, namely dry slopes, grazed by cattle. Others claim that the word is a corruption of ‘cow’s leek’, derived from the Anglo-Saxon word leac, meaning ‘plant’. Other names of this species include key flower, Herb Peter, Our Lady’s keys, and palsy wort. ‘Key flower’ and ‘Herb Peter’ refer to the inflorescence, which resembles a bunch of keys – the emblem of Saint Peter. According to legend, St. Peter heard that some people were trying to enter heaven by the back door, instead of using the front gates, which were guarded by him. Hurrying towards the back door, he dropped his keys, which took root and became cowslips. German names of the species include Echte Schlüsselblume, meaning ‘true key flower’, and Himmelsschlüssel, meaning ‘keys of heaven’. In Norse mythology, the cowslip was dedicated to Freya, the Key Virgin, a goddess associated with love, beauty, and fertility. When the heathens converted to Christianity, the plant was instead dedicated to Virgin Mary, hence the popular name Our Lady’s keys. – This species has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. (Read more on this website, see Traditional medicine: Primula veris). – In these two pictures, cowslip grows on a slope beneath the ruins of Hammershus Castle, Bornholm, Denmark. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Himachal Pradesh 2007 
These men are placing a flower offering, consisting of yellow Primula stuartii, and blue and white Anemone obtusiloba, on a stone cairn – a shrine dedicated to a local Hindu goddess atop Rakhundi Peak (3622 m), Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India. This goddess is probably a form of Devi, the god Shiva’s shakti (female aspect), as the trident is a symbol of Shiva. – Sacrifices to stone cairns, sacred trees etc. indicate remnants of pre-Hindu animism. Likewise, the red dye on the offering stone probably symbolizes blood from oxen, which were formerly a common sacrifice among Asian animists. (Read more about Hinduism and animism on this website, see Religion). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Everest 2010
Everest 2010
The Himalayan primroses vary greatly in size, among others including the tiny Primula atrodentata (top), which is found in open areas between 3,500 and 4,900 metres altitude, and its complete contrast, the beautiful, almost one metre tall Sikkim primrose (Primula sikkimensis), which grows in wet meadows from western Nepal to south-western China. – Both plants were photographed in the Khumbu area, eastern Nepal. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Alperne 2016a 
The Alps are home to 25 species of primrose. This picture from the Grossglockner area, Austria, shows least primrose (Primula minima), which is easily identified by its rather large, deeply cut petals and its diminutive leaves. This species is quite common in the eastern half of the Alps, growing between 2,000 and 3,000 metres altitude. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Bornholm 2016
Bornholm 2008
Birdseye primrose (Primula farinosa) has a very wide distribution, from northern Europe across northern Asia, with isolated populations in the mountains of southern Europe. It often forms large populations, as in this picture from a littoral meadow on the island of Bornholm, Denmark (top). The small, blue flowers are common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris). (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 2013
Nepal 2013
The golden-eyed primrose (Primula strumosa) has bright yellow flowers, but hybridizes freely with Primula calderiana, resulting in yellow, white, blue, and purple flowers in a single population. It is found in the eastern Himalaya, from Nepal eastwards to China, at altitudes between 3,500 and 4,300 metres. These pictures are from the Ghunsa Valley, eastern Nepal, where this species is abundant. In the bottom picture, inflorescences have been pressed firmly to the ground by snowfall. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Everest 2010 
This dark-blue primrose, Primula wollastonii, is easily identified by its open, bell-shaped flowers. It has a rather limited distribution, found in central and eastern Nepal, and southern Tibet, between 3,600 and 4,900 metres altitude. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Lolland-Falster-Møn 1970-86
The English primrose (Primula vulgaris, also called P. acaulis) is among the earliest flowering plants of northern Europe, in mild springs blooming as early as the beginning of March. The word ‘primrose’ is from the Latin, prima rosa, meaning ‘first rose’, although primroses are not at all related to roses. English primrose is native to Europe, north-western Africa, and southwest Asia, from Turkey eastwards to Iran. Three subspecies are found. The nominate subspecies vulgaris, which has pale yellow flowers, is found in northern, western, and southern Europe. Subspecies balearica, which is endemic to the Balearic Islands, has white flowers. Subspecies sibthorpii, which is found in the Balkans and southwestern Asia, has pink, red, or purple flowers. – In this picture from Møn, Denmark, lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) and white anemone (Anemone nemorosa) are also seen. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Uttarakhand 2008
Taiwan 2014b
The inflorescences of some primrose species differ from those of most other primroses in that the flowers are arranged in several umbels up the stem. One such example is the golden-yellow Primula floribunda, which grows on rocks, from Afghanistan eastwards to western Nepal. Another is Primula miyabeana, which is found in the mountains of central Taiwan. – Uttarakhand, India (top), Alishan National Recreation Area, Taiwan (bottom). (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 2009-1 
The inflorescence of Primula glomerata, which is found from western Nepal eastwards to south-eastern Tibet, is a very dense globular head. In the background leaves of a cinquefoil, Potentilla peduncularis, and a dwarf rhododendron. – Langtang National Park, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Fyn 1967-2004
True oxlip (Primula elatior) is found throughout Europe, north to Denmark and southern Sweden, and eastwards to the Altai Mountains. It grows mainly in hardwood forests, where it blooms before foliation of the trees. It has been told that the name oxlip, which is a corruption of the words ‘ox’ and ‘slip’, refers to the fact that oxlip (like cowslip, see above) often grows in cattle grazing grounds – probably a wrong presumption, as true oxlip mainly grows in forests. – The other plant in this picture from Funen, Denmark, is white anemone (Anemone nemorosa). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Everest 2010 
The tall, erect Primula macrophylla is found in Central Asia and the Himalaya, where it mainly grows in meadows. Its leaves are lanceolate and entire, to 30 cm long, farinose beneath, and its flowers are lilac or purple. This picture is from the Khumbu area, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 2008
Primula edgeworthii is abundant in forests between 2,100 and 4,100 metres altitude, from Himachal Pradesh, India, eastwards to central Nepal. Its long-stalked, bluish-violet flowers grow directly from the leaf rosette. – The photograph was taken in the Annapurna area, central Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Himachal Pradesh 2007 
The stately Primula stuartii has a rather limited distribution, from Himachal Pradesh, northern India, eastwards to Sikkim, growing at altitudes between 3,600 and 4,500 metres. It is very common in the Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 1994-95
As its name implies, the leaves of Primula geraniifolia resemble those of certain species of Geranium. This species mainly grows on wet banks in forests, between 2,700 and 4,600 metres altitude, from central Nepal to south-western China. – These plants were photographed near Gorjegaon, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Nepal 2013 
This primrose, Primula petiolaris, grows in forests between 2,300 and 3,900 metres altitude, from Uttarakhand, northern India, eastwards to Sikkim. – Langtang National Park, central Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Alperne 2016a
Alperne 2016a
Sticky primrose (Primula glutinosa) can be identified by its stiff, upright, serrated, glutinous, and fleshy leaves, and by its bluish-violet flowers, the sepals of which are covered by dark bracts. It is found in the central and eastern parts of the Alps, where it often grows at high altitudes, up to 3,250 metres above sea level. – Stubach Valley, Hohe Tauern, Austria. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Uttarakhand 2008 
Primula sessilis, which has a single pointed tooth on each petal, is fairly common in Himalayan forests between 2,100 and 3,700 metres altitude, from Kashmir to western Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Everest 2010
Primula primulina is a tiny species, easily identified by its flowers, which have a tuft of white hairs in the throat. It grows in open areas at high altitudes, between 3,600 and 5,000 metres, from Uttarakhand, northern India, eastwards to south-eastern Tibet. – In this picture from the Gokyo Valley, Khumbu, eastern Nepal, another primrose, Primula atrodentata, is also seen. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Everest 2010 
Another tiny Himalayan species, the round-leaved primrose (Primula rotundifolia), grows on rocks between 3,500 and 5,000 metres altitude. It has a rather limited distribution, from Nepal to south-eastern Tibet. – Khumbu, eastern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

LFM 1987-2016
LFM 1987-2016
Hybridization often takes place among three European Primula species: English primrose (P. acaulis), true oxlip (P. elatior), and cowslip (P. veris). The upper picture shows a hybrid between P. veris and P. acaulis, the lower picture a hybrid between P. elatior and P. acaulis, both photographed on the island of Møn, Denmark. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

(Uploaded August 2017)

 

(Revised continuously)