WELCOME TO THE GENUS PRIMULA
The name ‘primula’ (‘dear little first one’) probably derives from the fact that the common primrose (Primula vulgaris) blooms extremely early in the year, sometimes even in January.
To many people, the word ‘primroses’ means the colourful supermarket varieties and the ‘Wandas’ which are so popular today. Some will recognize by sight the common primrose (Primula vulgaris), the cowslip (P. veris) and possibly the oxlip (P. elatior), which have given rise to many of the popular varieties. These particular species are usually associated with England and other parts of Europe.
But did you know there are over 450 species of the genus Primula in the wild? They range in height from a few millimetres to over a metre tall; they can be red, blue-purple, yellow, white, and all shades in between. They grow from the far islands of Japan in the east to the shores of Alaska in the west. They probably originated in the Himalayas and adjoining regions of western China, from where they spread across Asia to Japan, Europe and the Americas. There is even one species (P. magellanica) indigenous to South America.
One quality that makes this genus attractive to gardeners and collectors is that many, perhaps most of the plants are amenable to garden or greenhouse cultivation.
To see a photo gallery of this wonderfully varied genus, visit www.primulaworld.com