Somerset Wildlife Trust

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PrimroseThe primrose is a herbaceous perennial plant, low growing, to 10­30 cm tall, with a basal rosette of leaves. The leaves are 5­25 cm long and 2­6 cm broad with a usually short leaf stem. The flowers are 2­4 cm in diameter, borne singly on a slender stem, pale yellow, white, red, or purple with a superior ovary which later forms a capsule which opens by valves to release the small black seeds. The flowers are hermaphrodite but heterostylous; individual plants bear either pin flowers (longuistylous flower: with the capita of the style prominent) or thrum flowers (brevistylous flower: with the stamens prominent). Fertilisation can only take place between pin and thrum flowers. Pin-to-pin and thrum-to-thrum pollination is ineffective.

It flowers in early spring, one of the earliest spring flowers in much of Europe. ("Primrose" is ultimately from Old French primerose or medieval Latin prima rosa, meaning first "rose". In appropriate conditions, it can cover the ground in open woods and shaded hedgerows.

Text and photographs courtesy of Wikipedia.