China 2014

Pam travelled to Yunnan, China in the spring of 2014 to hunt for Primulas. Click image for more...

Primula Rediscovered

Primula bracteata and Primula bullata are found in their type locations after 125 years.

Near Lhasa, Tibet

How do you tell the difference between P. tibetica and P. fasciculata?

Primula ambita in the Wild

The first ever cultivated plant caused a stir at Chelsea earlier this year.

New Primula Book

The latest Primula book is a revision of the 106 species of Primula found in India.

Primula biserrata is the correct name for P. serratifolia Franch.

I can imagine that in the 1800's it would have been difficult to keep track of the names of new species. If you were lucky the author would have published in a widely available journal or perhaps a colleague would have passed on the information. Or course, it would have been easy to be unaware that a name had already been used when describing a new species and that is the case for Primula serratifolia.
Primula auricula, serrated leaf edge
In 1876, Gandoger described a species called Primula serratifolia, which he thought to be distinct from typical Primula auricula described by Linnaeus. Gandoger quotes "P. auricula Michelet in Billot exsicc. no. 1309 bis, non Lin." The Billot reference is here, though the authority "Michelet" is misspelled, and should be "Michalet", according to the list of collaborators for the publication. The specimen no. 1309 is in Paris, specimen "P04521859", which is incorrectly filed under the name Primula dumicola, and which shows the serrated leaf edge which the name refers to. Michalet does mention that Primula auricula grows at "Baume-les-Dames" in his book "Histoire naturelle du Jura et des departments voisins: Botanique", which is the location where the collection was made. A google search of that location reveals that Primula auricula is common there, though there has been a recent split between northern and southern populations.
Primula biserrata
In 1885, Franchet used the same name "Primula serratifolia" to describe a species from the Cang Shan, near Dali, Yunnan. His description of the species is confusing as he failed to point out the most notable characteristic: the flowers are bicolored, yellow with a white border on the petals (he described them as yellow only). This confusion lead Forrest to believe he had found a new species at the same location, which he described as "Primula biserrata" in 1908. As the name "Primula serratifolia" is already taken, Franchet's description is a later homonym and considered "nom illeg." (invalid). Primula biserrata is the next validly published name and so it becomes the valid name for this species.
Primula biserrata

 Pam Eveleigh © 2016