Fairy Primrose
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Fairy Primrose
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Fairy Primrose, Baby Primrose
Botanical name: Primula malacoides    Family: Primulaceae (Primrose family)
Synonyms: Auganthus malacoides, Primula delicata

Fairy Primrose is a beautiful primrose, which is biennial and usually white powdery. Leaves are numerous; stalks 2--15 cm, hairy, succulent. Leaves are ovate to elliptic or oblong-elliptic, 3--10 X 2--8 cm, sometimes white powdery below, sparsely hairy or nearly hairless above. Base is heart-shaped to flat, margin toothed and lobed, with 6--8 pairs of denticulate lobules, tip rounded. Flowering stems are 1 to many, 10--40 cm, hairy or becoming hairless, slightly white powdery. Flowers are borne in 1--6, superimposed, 4--20-flowered umbels. Bracts are linear to linear-lanceolate, 3--8 mm, powdery. flower-stalks are 1.5--4 cm. Sepal cup is bell-shaped, 3--7 mm, slightly enlarging in fruit, usually cream-white powdery, parted to middle; sepals triangular, tip pointed. Flowers are rose or lavender; tube 4--6 mm; limb 0.5--1.5 cm wide; petals broadly obovate, deeply 2-lobed. Pin flowers: flower tube about as long as calyx; stamens 1.5--2 mm above base of corolla tube; style ca. as long as tube. Thrum flowers: flower tube about 1.5 times as long as calyx; stamens slightly above middle of corolla tube; style ca. 1 mm. Capsules are spherical, about 3 mm in diameter. Fairy Primrose was believed to be a Chinese species, but now it has been found in the Himalayas too, at altitudes of 1800--3000 m. Flowering: February-May.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed in Solan, Himachal Pradesh & Sikkim.

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