Primula sachalinensis

Primula sachalinensis: 
The island Sakhalin lies just north of Japan's Hokkaido and east of mainland Russia. Historically, it has been claimed by both Russia and Japan. For the period of 1905 to 1945, the island was split, with Japan holding the southern portion, and calling it Karafuto. It was during this time, in 1932, that Primula sachalinensis was described¹ by the Japanese botanist Takenoshin Nakai. He cited the type location as "Sachalin: in humidis secus Bakenuma, Hoyankei" and he named M. Gozeki as the collector. Presumably the type sheet resides in TI (Tokoyo) but it isn't online. However a sheet with a part of the type specimen is available at E (Edinburgh) mounted with a second gathering collected 2 weeks later.
Primula sachalinensis at Magunant mud volcano
It is difficult to find "Bakenuma, Hoyankei" on a map since Russia now has control over Sakhalin and Russian names are used. However it is generally accepted that this refers to the Magunant mud volcano, in the Pugachevskie volcano group, at 48°13'41.00"N 142°34'0.00"E. The name "Hoyankei" seems to match "Hoyori village" in the old Japanese Shikuka Subprefecture.

A white form growing at Magunant mud volcano
In 1996, Y. Lee described Primula sachalinensis f. albida, without a type designated. In the same reference, Lee also include an image of a white flowered Primula which he labelled this species, and which was photographed on "백두산" which is Mount Baekdu, now called Paektu located at 42° 0'8.81"N 128° 3'29.81"E on the Korea - China border. As per the discussion following, plants on Mount Paektu are not Primula sachalinensis.

Primula sachalinensis has been considered a variation of Primula farinosa and certainly it is close, but the base of the bracts are gibbose. Regular Primula farinosa does not grow on Sakhalin and Bukhteeva³ noted that these plants growing on freshly ejected mud substrate differed from normal Primula farinosa to such an extent that the classification of Primula sachalinensis as a distinct species, endemic to Sakhalin, was justified. Kovtonyuk included Primula sachalinensis in a genetic study and confirmed it was distinct and more closely related to Primula mistassinica, Primula modesta and Primula incana.

¹ Original description on page 61 within the PDF of Bot. Mag. (Tokyo) 1932, xlvi.
² Original description Fl. Korea (Lee) 1159, without type. 1996.
³ Bukhteeva, A.V., Primula sachalinensis Nakai, the Primula species of the Maguntan volcano, Bot. Zh., 1960, vol. 45, no. 5, pp 746-748.
Kovtonyuk, N.K. and Goncharov, A.A., Phylogenetic relationships in the Genus Primula L. (Primulaceae) inferred from the ITS region sequences of nuclear rDNA, Russ. J. Genet., 2009, vol. 45, no. 6, pp. 663-670.

Pam Eveleigh © 2018


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