In 1883, Père Marie Delavay, a French missionary of Missions Etrangères de Paris (Society of Foreign Missions of Paris), crossed a low mountain range on his way between missions near Er'yuan, in Yunnan Province of China. Delavay had been convinced by botanist Adrien Franchet to collect botanical specimens for the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris and on this range he found two species of Primula, one of them higher up, P. bullata, and one in a gorge flanking the range, P. bracteata.
Our first task on the trip was to return to P. bracteata in the gorge and this we did, taking many images and making observations. It is quite unlike the plants that have been masquerading under this name in cultivation!
Research prior to our trip, lead us to believe that the type location for P. bullata, given as Hée Chan Men (meaning black gate or pass), was near the village of Nan Da Ping, but asking the villagers there turned up no knowledge of the place. It was by chance that we decided to explore the East side of the range while waiting to pick Jens up later at the airport in Dali. I was interested in P. malvacea var. alba which I thought could possibly be there, though I had slim hopes we would find it. We found ourselves up random back roads before deciding to turn back for Jens. Just at that turn around point was a house and nearby, a shepherd. This turned out to be Mr. Lu and he was adamant he knew where the pass was and that he had seen the plants we were looking for, after seeing photographs of P. forrestii, a related species with similar yellow flowers. The next day, we met again with Mr. Lu who took us up muddy roads to the top of the range and eventually a small gap in the pine forest with an outcrop of limestone coming out of the red earth. There we did find P. bullata and photographed it.
|Mr. Lu with P. bullata|
|Hee Chan Men, location for P. bullata|
Smith & Fletcher, 1946
Flora of China, 1996
Eveleigh, Nielsen & Rankin, 2014
|bullata||bullata||bullata||bullata||bullata var. bullata|
|rufa||bullata var. rufa||forrestii||forrestii||bullata var. bullata|
|forrestii||forrestii||forrestii||forrestii||bullata var. forrestii|
|redolens||redolens||forrestii||forrestii var. redolens||bullata var. forrestii|
|ulophylla||bracteata||bracteata||bracteata||bullata var. forrestii|
|bracteata||bracteata||bracteata||bracteata||bullata var. bracteata|
|coelata var. stenophylla||henrici||not listed||not listed||henrici|
|coelata||bracteata||not listed||not listed||coelata|
b Subsequently changed to bracteata subsp. dubernardiana.