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Primula vulgaris
Scientific classification

many; see text

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Primula vulgaris
Scientific classification

many; see text

A modern garden primula cultivar
Primula farinosa flowers
Primula hortensis
Primula prolifera
Primula sieboldii
Primula veris
Orchid primrose, Primula vialii

Primula (play /ˈprɪmjʊlə/)[1] is a genus of 400–500 species of flowering herbaceous plants in the family Primulaceae. They include primrose, auricula, cowslip and oxlip. Many species are grown for their ornamental flowers. They are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, south into tropical mountains in Ethiopia, Indonesia and New Guinea, and in temperate southern South America.

Perennial primulas bloom mostly during the spring; their flowers can be purple, yellow, red, pink, or white. Generally, they prefer filtered sunlight. Many species are adapted to alpine climates.

The word primula is the Latin feminine diminutive of primus, meaning first (prime), applied to flowers that are among the first to open in spring.

Primroses are used as food plants by the larvae (caterpillars) of some Lepidoptera species, including Duke of Burgundy butterfly, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character and Silver-ground Carpet.

The term Polyanthus (often called P. polyantha) refers to an interspecific garden hybrid between coloured varieties of P. vulgaris and P. veris, possibly with a small admixture of P. juliae. This has produced a large variety of strains in all colours, which are usually grown as annuals, and are available as seeds or young plants.[2]



The genus Dodecatheon originated from within Primula, so some authorities include the 14 species of Dodecatheon in Primula.[3]

Sections of genus Primula

The classification of the genus Primula has been investigated by botanists for over a century. As the genus is both large and diverse (with about 500 species), botanists have organized the species in various sub-generic groups. The most common is division into a series of thirty sections.[4][5] Some of these sections (e.g. Vernales, Auricula) contain many species; others contain only one.

  • Amethystina
  • Auricula
  • Bullatae
  • Candelabra
  • Capitatae
  • Carolinella
  • Cortusoides
  • Cuneifolia
  • Denticulata
  • Dryadifolia
  • Farinosae
  • Floribundae
  • Grandis
  • Malacoidea
  • Malvacea
  • Minutissimae
  • Muscaroides
  • Nivales
  • Obconica
  • Parryi
  • Petiolares
  • Pinnatae
  • Pycnoloba
  • Reinii
  • Rotundifolia
  • Sikkimensis
  • Sinenses
  • Soldanelloideae
  • Souliei
  • Vernales

Selected species

  • Primula acaulis syn. Primula vulgaris
  • Primula alcalina (Bluedome Primrose)
  • Primula algida
  • Primula allionii (Allioni's Primrose)
  • Primula alpicola Moonlight Primrose)
  • Primula amoena (Aucasian Primrose)
  • Primula angustifolia (Alpine Primrose)
  • Primula anisodora (Anise Primrose)
  • Primula anvilensis (Boreal Primrose)
  • Primula appenina
  • Primula atrodentata
  • Primula aurantiaca
  • Primula aureata
  • Primula auricula (Auricula [Primrose], Bear's Ear)
  • Primula auriculata
  • Primula beesiana (Candelabra Primrose)
  • Primula bellidifolia
  • Primula boothii
  • Primula borealis (Northern Primrose)
  • Primula bracteosa
  • Primula bulleyana (Candelabra Primrose)
  • Primula burmanica (Burma Primrose)
  • Primula calderiana
  • Primula capillaris (Ruby Mountain Primrose)
  • Primula capitata
    • Primula capitata ssp mooreana
  • Primula capitellata
  • Primula carniolica (Carniolan Primrose)
  • Primula cawdoriana
  • Primula chionantha
  • Primula chungensis
  • Primula clarkei
  • Primula clusiana
  • Primula cockburniana
  • Primula concholoba
  • Primula cortusoides
  • Primula cuneifolia (Wedgeleaf or Pixie-eye Primrose)
  • Primula cusickiana (Cusick's Primrose)
  • Primula daonensis
  • Primula darialica
  • Primula denticulata (Drumstick or Himalayan Primrose)
  • Primula deorum (Rila Primrose, Rila Cowslip, God's Cowslip)
  • Primula deuteronana
  • Primula edgeworthii
  • Primula egaliksensis (Greenland Primrose)
  • Primula elatior (Oxlip, Oxslip or True Oxlip)
  • Primula ellisiae (Ellis's Primrose)
  • Primula erythrocarpa
  • Primula eximia (Arctic Primrose)
  • Primula farinosa (Birdseye Primrose)
  • Primula fedschenkoi
  • Primula firmipes
  • Primula flaccida
  • Primula floribunda
  • Primula florindae (Giant or Tibetan Cowslip)
  • Primula forrestii
  • Primula frondosa
  • Primula gambeliana
  • Primula geraniifolia
  • Primula glaucescens
  • Primula glomerata
  • Primula glutinosa (Sticky Primrose)
  • Primula gracillipes
  • Primula griffithii
  • Primula halleri (Long-flowered or Haller's Primrose)
  • Primula heucherifolia
  • Primula hirsuta (Stinking Primrose)
  • Primula hortensis
  • Primula hyacinthina
  • Primula ianthina
  • Primula incana (Silvery or Mealy Primrose)
  • Primula integrifolia (Entire-leaved primrose)
  • Primula involucrata
  • Primula ioessa
  • Primula irregularis
  • Primula japonica (Japanese Primrose or Japanese Cowslip)
  • Primula jesoana
  • Primula juliae (Juliana Primrose)
  • Primula kewensis (Kew Primrose)
  • Primula kisoana * Amethystina
  • Primula kitaibeliana (Kitaibel's primrose)
  • Primula latifolia (Broadleaf or Viscid Primrose)
  • Primula lutea
  • Primula luteola
  • Primula macrophylla (Large leaf Primrose)
  • Primula magellanica
  • Primula malacoides (Fairy or Baby Primrose)
  • Primula marginata (Marginate Primrose)
  • Primula megaseifolia
  • Primula melanops
  • Primula minima
  • Primula mistassinica (Mistassini or Lake Mistassini Primrose)
  • Primula modesta
  • Primula mollis
  • Primula muscarioides
  • Primula nipponica
  • Primula nivalis (Snowy Primrose)
  • Primula nutans
  • Primula obconica (Poison or German Primrose)
  • Primula palinuri
  • Primula parryi (Parry's Primrose)
  • Primula pedemontana
  • Primula petiolaris
  • Primula poissonii
  • Primula polyneura
  • Primula prolifera
  • Primula pulverulenta
  • Primula redolens
  • Primula reidii
  • Primula reinii
  • Primula renifolia
  • Primula reptans
  • Primula reticulata
  • Primula rosea (Himalayan Meadow Primrose)
  • Primula roxburghii
  • Primula rusbyi (Rusby's Primrose)
  • Primula sapphirina
  • Primula saxatilis (Rock Primrose)
  • Primula scandinavica (Scandinavian Primrose)
  • Primula scapigera
  • Primula scotica (Scottish Primrose)
  • Primula secundiflora
  • Primula serratifolia
  • Primula sibirica
  • Primula sieboldii
  • Primula sikkimensis (Himalayan Cowslip)
  • Primula sinensis
  • Primula sinopurpurea
  • Primula soldanelloides
  • Primula sonchifolia
  • Primula spectabilis
  • Primula specuicola (Alcove or Cave-dwelling Primrose)
  • Primula stricta (Coastal or Strict Primrose)
  • Primula suffrutescens (Sierra[n] Primrose)
  • Primula takedana
  • Primula tanneri
  • Primula tibetica
  • Primula tschuktschorum (Chukchi Primrose)
  • Primula tyrolensis
  • Primula veris (Cowslip)
  • Primula verticillata (Abyssinian or Whorled Primrose)
  • Primula vialii (Wayside, Pagoda, Poker or Orchid Primrose)
  • Primula villosa
  • Primula vulgaris (Primrose)
  • Primula waltonii
  • Primula warshenewskiana
  • Primula whitei
  • Primula wilsonii
  • Primula wollastonii (Wollaston's Primrose)
  • Primula wulfeniana (Wulfen's Primrose)
  • Primula yuparensis


Primula × pubescens


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Reader's Digest encyclopedia of garden plants & flowers, 2nd edition. United Kingdom: Reader's Digest Association. 1978. 
  3. ^ Alan S. Weakley (April 2008). "Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, and Surrounding Areas". 
  4. ^ Ingwersen, Will (1986) [1978]. Ingwersen's Manual of Alpine Plants. Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-026-6. 
  5. ^ Green, Roy (1986) [1976]. Asiatic Primulas. Woking, Surrey, UK: Alpine Garden Society. 

External links

Data related to Primula at Wikispecies