Monday, April 18, 2005

SPRING BECKONS YOU

This is a car-park, loaded with primulas.

The population is basically straight primroses (Primula vulgaris)but with a high frequency of the less commmon forms. Thus you get local splashes of plants where the outer petals might be not primrose-yellow but white, or red-winy
(sometimes neat and more often a bit washed-out).

Also, you can find a few primroses where instead of the flower-stems arising separately from the base they spring from a central scape. Maximum nine or ten flowers, arranged like spokes.

There's a few scaped+red plants, too. It's really hard to accept these as primroses. Perhaps there's been some genetic incursion from another source.

In the middle of all this is a cowslip bank (Primula veris), and here you can see the common hybrid P. veris x vulgaris, sometimes known as "false oxlip". The one below is surrounded by normal-looking cowslips (is P. veris always the mother, I wonder?) The flowers look basically primrosy, but a bit smaller and with a dash more egg-yolk - more of them, too. They emerge from a fine tall scape, but there's no rotational symmetry. Instead, they bunch together and face the same way, all rubbernecking sunwards.

What do you get if you have a cowslip mum and red-primrose dad? Well, a sort of muddy fawn; the parental stains suffuse each other, like watercolours. The stem system is bits-and-pieces, but this plant still manages to look good.

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