China 2014

Pam travelled to Yunnan, China in the spring of 2014 to hunt for Primulas. Click image for more...

Primula Rediscovered

Primula bracteata and Primula bullata are found in their type locations after 125 years.

Near Lhasa, Tibet

How do you tell the difference between P. tibetica and P. fasciculata?

Primula ambita in the Wild

The first ever cultivated plant caused a stir at Chelsea earlier this year.

New Primula Book

The latest Primula book is a revision of the 106 species of Primula found in India.

Primula dueckelmannii from the Wakhan Corridor

Primula dueckelmannii is a mystery species, described in 1959 and one that is known to be closely similar to Primula kaufmanniana from Turkestan. The description does not seem to match the herbarium specimen but apparently the difference between the two species is that P. dueckelmannii has seven lobed leaves, deep reddish-violet flowers, hairs on the scape, pedicels, bracts and calyx and the calyx lobes are linear. There are herbarium specimens online at Universität Wien, Vienna : holotype specimen W 1964-0005577 and non-type KUFS 022196.
Primula kaufmanniana
Unfortunately I have no images of Primula dueckelmannii and careful study of it is difficult because it is found in the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan. This area is considered a challenging place to travel to and possibly dangerous, though it is much safer if you travel from the north via Tajikistan rather than through Afghanistan from the south. 
Wakhan corridor by Hans Roemer
Richards says that expeditions to the Wakhan in the 1960's and 1970's reported seeing P. kaufmanniana which could very well have been P. dueckelmannii. The Wakhan was visited by Hans Roemer in 1964 and his images of P. macrophylla, P. pamirica, aff P. schlagintweitiana and P. warshenewskiana are in the Species Gallery.

Recently Gary and Monika Wescott travelled through the corridor and encountered no problems doing so. There are even upcoming trips planned to the Wakhan for 2016 from Secret Compass, Untamed Borders, Another World Adventures, and Wild Frontiers. If you (or someone you know) are intending a trip to the Wakhan, and you are able to take Primula images for me, please contact me for details of the species to be found there.


The Eye of the Flower - Annulate vs Exannulate

The eyes are the window of the soul.

The eye of a Primula flower is its center which may be colored different from the rest of the corolla and which is the mouth or end of the flower tube containing the stigma or anthers (see Style Position).

In Primula, whether the flower is annulate or exannulate is an important characteristic to differentiate between species.
Close-up of the annulus in a Primula flower
Annulate means having a ring-like constriction (annulus) at the mouth of the flower. A different colored eye from the rest of the corolla does not indicate that an annulus is present. Some species even may be weakly annulate or sometimes exannulate. Exannulate is the opposite; no annulus is present. The best way to determine whether an annulus is present is to slice open the flower.

Slice open a flower to determine annulate (L) vs exannulate (R).
Examples of annulate Primula flowers 
Examples of exannulate Primula flowers

The Lost World of Tibet Film by George Sherriff

George Sherriff (1898-1967) was a famous Scottish explorer and plant collector who travelled primarily with Frank Ludlow in the Eastern Himalayas. Together, they discovered many new plant species including many Primulas. Their expeditions are detailed in the Book "A Quest of Flowers" by H.R. Fletcher. George was an avid photographer and his still images showing plants in the wild are a precious source of information. He also made movies and one of his amateur films from the early 1940's is viewable on You Tube (12mins). It is called "The Lost World of Tibet" and it is narrated by George's wife Betty. It is a fascinating glimpse into travel at the time and there are occasional glimpses of Primulas. See time 4:50 and 6:14.