Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Primrose


Primula vulgaris will soon be back with us. It's one of the earliest flowers to appear round these parts and always raises a smile the first time I notice them. There's a sunny bank where I turn off the main road on my way to work which looks unprepossessing most of the year, but for a few weeks it is absolutely smothered with primroses.  
Its name derives from medieval latin for 'first rose', but of course it's not a rose, or even in the rose family. It gives its name to Primulaceae, the family it belongs to.
There's something funny about the flowers. They are either thrum or pin
This refers to whether the stamens, which surround the central style, are prominent and appear at the top of the central petal tube or corolla (thrum) or whether they are short and it is the style that holds centre stage (pin). Have a look next time you find some.

This is described as distylus and flax plants also exhibit it. Apparently it's typical of plants that rely predominantly on lepidopteran (moth or butterfly) pollination. Other plants may have three forms and be tristylus. Marvellous!     
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