The Yellow Cortusoides

Primula cortusoides is a pink flowered species which has a wide distribution from Western Europe through Siberia to Mongolia, North Korea and Northwestern China. It is the species which defines the Section Cortusoides, with plants efarinose, but having multicellular hairs, distinctly petiolate leaves, with a subrounded blade that is somewhat lobed at the margin and cordate at the base. The flowers are arranged in an umbel. In the wild it grows in a variety of habitats from rock crevices to slopes to woodland forests in low to mid altitudes. It is quite common in cultivation, however the yellow Cortusoides species are more of a mystery. These species are: P. eugeniae, P. pskemensis, P. pauliana and P. pelargoniifolia.

Primula eugeniae has a very small distribution centered in Northwestern Kyrgyzstan (Ferghana and Chatkal mountains) and does not seem to have been in cultivation though it looks to be very attractive. The flowers are a soft, pale yellow and the leaves are larger and more rounded but otherwise it superficially resembles P. cortusoides. This species grows in rock crevices at higher altitudes.

Primula pskemensis was described in 2004 from the Pskemense range of western Kyrgyzstan. It is very close to P. eugeniae but differs in the glandular, pubescent calyx and smaller flowers.

Primula pauliana is abnormal in form from other species in this section by having flowers arranged in a raceme (spike). It grows in SW Sichuan and North Yunnan in a variety of habitats from meadows to rock crevices to woodland at low to mid altitudes. Image courtesy Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Primula pelargoniifolia was described in 2014 from one locality in Qijiang, SW Chongqing. Its flowers are small and arranged in 2-4 superimposed umbels (whorls) and it grows in humid crevices and soil derived from red sandstone at low altitude. Image from the original description.


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