PRIMROSE

PRIMROSE

Primroses are early bloomers that flower in late winter. They belong to the Primulaceae family and to the primula genus that includes about 500 species, of which most are native to the temperate zones of Europe, Asia, and America. In Italy, the most well-known species are those that grow spontaneously in the woods: P. veris, fragrant and very precocious, with little yellow flowers borne at the top of small stems that bloom at the close of winter; P. vulgaris or common primrose, also spontaneous, with very colourful flowers borne on a short stem; P. farinosa, similar to the previous primrose and very common in the Alps. P. malacoides and P. obconica, on the other hand, are imported from China. The former has a rosette of big leaves with jagged margins. Its inflorescences are borne at the top of long stems that can reach a height of 30 cm and are composed of many small, pink, white, and salmon-coloured flowers. P. obconica, similar to the previous primrose, is recognizable by its leaves, which have an undented margin of a darker shade of green, and by its inflorescences that have bigger flowers ranging from pink to purplish. These last two species are not resistant to the cold. Nowadays, the varieties that are available to be transplanted very early on balconies and in gardens are Primula acaulis and P. veris, both of which are derived from hybridization and breeding that have exalted the size and colour of the flowers, the compactness of the plants, as well as their resistance to cold and to disease. These plants have beautiful, bright-coloured flowers with incredible shades and variegations. The seeds of these hybrids are very expensive (tens of thousands of euros for a kilo!). Luckily, they are very small: a gram contains 10-12.000 seeds! Primroses are seeded in nurseries in summer to obtain plants that are ready to bloom beginning from the month of January. The blooming period lasts up to late spring, when high temperatures block the growth of the flowers.

pianta da fiore primula