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Prolećno cveće 3.JPG
Primula vulgaris
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Primulaceae
Subfamily: Primuloideae
Genus: Primula

many; see text

A modern garden primula cultivar
Primula capitata ssp. mooreana
Primula × pubescens

Primula /ˈprɪmjʊlə/[1] is a genus of mainly herbaceous[2] flowering plants in the family Primulaceae. They include the familiar wildflower of banks and verges, the primrose (P. vulgaris). Other common species are P. auricula (auricula), P. veris (cowslip) and P. elatior (oxlip). These species and many others are valued for their ornamental flowers. They have been extensively cultivated and hybridised - in the case of the primrose, for many hundreds of years. Primula are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, south into tropical mountains in Ethiopia, Indonesia and New Guinea, and in temperate southern South America. Almost half of the known species are from the Himalayas.[2]

Primula has about 500 species in traditional treatments, and more if certain related genera are included within its circumscription.[3]


Primula is a complex and varied genus, with a range of habitats from alpine slopes to boggy meadows. Plants bloom mostly during the spring, with flowers often appearing in spherical umbels on stout stems arising from basal rosettes of leaves; their flowers can be purple, yellow, red, pink, blue, or white. Some species show a white mealy bloom (farina) on various parts of the plant.[2] 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.[4]


Primulas are used as a food plant by the Duke of Burgundy butterfly.[5]

Garden hybrids and cultivars[edit]

Primula species have been extensively cultivated and hybridised, mainly derived from P. elatior, P. juliae, P. veris and P. vulgaris. Polyanthus (often called P. polyantha) is one such group of plants, which has produced a large variety of strains in all colours, usually grown as annuals or biennials and available as seeds or young plants.[6]

The following hybrid varieties and cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-[7]

  • Crescendo Series
    • 'Crescendo Blue Shades'[8]
    • 'Crescendo Bright Red'[9]
    • 'Crescendo Golden'[10]
    • 'Crescendo Pink and Rose Shades'[11]            
  • Danova Series[12]
    • 'Danova Purple, White Edge'[13]
    • 'Danova Rose'[14]
  • 'Guinevere'[15]
  • Rainbow Series
    • 'Rainbow Blue shades'[16]
    • 'Rainbow Cream Shades'[17]
    • 'Rainbow Scarlet Shades'[18]
  • 'Wanda'[19]


The genus Dodecatheon originated from within Primula, so some authorities include the 14 species of Dodecatheon in Primula.[20]

Sections of genus Primula[edit]

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.[21][22] 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[edit]

Species include:[23][24][25]


  • Primula × kewensis = P. floribunda × P. verticillata (Kew primrose)[38]
  • Primula × polyantha = P. veris × P. vulgaris (false oxlip, polyanthus primula)[39]
  • Primula × pubescens = P. hirsuta × P. auricula


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book. 1995. 606–607.
  2. ^ a b c RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  3. ^ Primula. Flora of North America.
  4. ^ Coombes, Allen J. (2012). The A to Z of Plant Names. USA: Timber Press. p. 312. ISBN 9781604691962.
  5. ^ "UK Butterflies - Larval Foodplants".
  6. ^ Reader's Digest Encyclopedia of Garden Plants & Flowers, 2nd edition. United Kingdom: Reader's Digest Association. 1978.
  7. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 81. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Crescendo Blue Shades'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Crescendo Bright Red'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Crescendo Golden'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Crescendo Pink and Rose Shades'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula Danova Series". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Danova Purple, White Edge'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  14. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Danova Rose'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Guinevere'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  16. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Rainbow Blue shades'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  17. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Rainbow Cream Shades'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  18. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Rainbow Scarlet Shades'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  19. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Primula 'Wanda'". Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  20. ^ Weakley, A. S. (2008). "Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, and Surrounding Areas". UNC Herbarium, North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  21. ^ Ingwersen, Will (1986) [1978]. Ingwersen's Manual of Alpine Plants. Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 978-0-88192-026-0.
  22. ^ Green, Roy (1986) [1976]. Asiatic Primulas. Woking, Surrey, UK: Alpine Garden Society.
  23. ^ Primula: List of Records. Flora of China.
  24. ^ Primula: List of Records. Flora of North America.
  25. ^ GRIN Species Records of Primula. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  26. ^ Basak, S. K. and G. G. Maiti. 2000. Primula arunachalensis sp. nov. (Primulaceae) from the Eastern Himalaya. Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 51(1) 11-15.
  27. ^ a b Ming, H. C. and G. Y. Ying. (2003). Two new species of Primula (Primulaceae) from China. Novon 13 196-199.
  28. ^ Xun, G. and F. Rhui-cheng. (2003). Primula calyptrata, a new species in section Carolinella (Primulaceae) from Yunnan, China. Novon 13 193-95.
  29. ^ "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  30. ^ a b Hu, C. M. and G. Hao. (2011). New and noteworthy species of Primula (Primulaceae) from China. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 68(2) 297.
  31. ^ Li, R. and C. M. Hu. (2009). Primula lihengiana (Primulaceae), a new species from Yunnan, China. Annales Botanici Fennici 46(2) 130-32
  32. ^ Rankin, David W. H. (2012). "726. Primula Melanantha". Curtis's Botanical Magazine. 29: 18–33. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8748.2012.01768.x.
  33. ^ Rix, Martyn (2005). "529. Primula Moupinensis. Primulaceae". Curtis's Botanical Magazine. 22 (2): 119–123. doi:10.1111/j.1355-4905.2005.00477.x.
  34. ^ "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  35. ^ "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  36. ^ "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  37. ^ Chi-Ming, H. (1994). New taxa and combinations in Chinese Primulaceae. Novon 4(2) 103-105.
  38. ^ a b Primula verticillata (yellow primrose). Archived 2012-09-05 at the Wayback Machine Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  39. ^ "Primula × polyantha". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 December 2017.

External links[edit]