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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 15 | Primulaceae

8. Primula Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 142. 1753.

报春花属 bao chun hua shu

Primula blinii

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Herbs perennial, rarely annual, glabrous or pubescent, often farinose. Leaves simple, forming a rosette. Flowers usually heterostylous with pin (with longer styles) and thrum (with shorter styles) flowers; sometimes homostylous, in umbellate, racemose, subcapitate, or spicate inflorescences on scapes, with bracts; rarely solitary, scapes undeveloped. Calyx campanulate or cylindric, sometimes leaflike, 5-toothed. Corolla tube cylindric, not constricted at throat; limb 5-lobed, spreading or campanulate; lobes 2-cleft, margin entire. Stamens inserted on corolla tube; filaments very short; anthers obtuse. Ovary superior. Capsule globose, ovoid, or cylindric, dehiscing by valves, rarely with an operculum or crumbling; seeds numerous.

Approximately 500 species, mostly indigenous to the N temperate zone, with only a few outliers on the mountainous regions of Africa (Ethiopia), tropical Asia (Java and Sumatra), and South America. About 300 species are native to China.

Many species are imperfectly known, sometimes collected only once. This is reflected occasionally by missing details on pin or thrum morphology, fruiting characteristics, or ecology.


The 300 species are represented by 24 sections according to C. M. Hu: 1. Sect. Monocarpicae Franchet ex Pax: spp. 1--13. 2. Sect. Obconicolisteri I. B. Balfour: spp. 14--23. 3. Sect. Cortusoides I. B. Balfour: spp. 24--40. 4. Sect. Malvacea I. B. Balfour: spp. 41--47. 5. Sect. Auganthus (Link) Pax ex I. B. Balfour: spp. 48--50. 6. Sect. Pycnoloba I. B. Balfour: sp. 51. 7. Sect. Ranunculoides Chen & C. M. Hu: spp. 52--53. 8. Sect. Primula: sp. 54. 9. Sect. Carolinella (Hemsley) Pax: spp. 55--62. 10. Sect. Bullatae Pax: spp. 63--66. 11. Sect. Petiolares Pax: spp. 67--115. 12. Sect. Proliferae Pax: spp. 116--134. 13. Sect. Amethystina I. B. Balfour: spp. 135--142. 14. Sect. Sikkimensis I. B. Balfour: spp. 143--150. 15. Sect. Crystallophlomis Rupr.: spp. 151--191. 16. Sect. Cordifoliae Pax: spp. 192--196. 17. Sect. Aleuritia Duby: spp. 197--242. Spp. 238--242 are recognized in Europe and North America as Sect. Armerina. 18. Sect. Minutissimae Pax: spp. 243--259. 19. Sect. Souliei I. B. Balfour ex W. W. Smith & Forrest: spp. 260--265. 20. Sect. Dryadifolia I. B. Balfour: spp. 266--268. 21. Sect. Denticulata Watt: spp. 269--274. 22. Sect. Capitatae Pax: spp. 275--276. 23. Sect. Muscarioides I. B. Balfour: spp. 277--289. 24. Sect. Soldanelloides Pax: spp. 290--300.

1 Inflorescences racemose  

Key 1

+ Inflorescences not racemose.   (2)
2 (1) Inflorescences spicate or capitate.   (3)
+ Inflorescences umbellate or flowers solitary.   (4)
3 (2) Corolla infundibular or tubular, lobes ± spreading  

Key 2

+ Corolla campanulate, lobes nearly erect, in line with tube  

Key 3

4 (2) Leaves pinnately divided or palmately divided and deeply lobed to middle  

Key 4

+ Leaves entire, dentate, or only shallowly lobed.   (5)
5 (4) Plants ± with multicellular hairs, if glabrous, then leaf blade caudate at base.   (6)
+ Plants glabrous or scabrous-puberulous.   (11)
6 (5) Calyx cup-shaped (shorter than wide) to broadly campanulate  

Key 5

+ Calyx narrowly campanulate to cylindric, longer than wide.   (7)
7 (6) Plants with stout woody rhizomes or base with small membranous bud scales; leaves ± bullate  

Key 6

+ Plants without woody rhizomes or small membranous bud scales; leaves not bullate.   (8)
8 (7) Corolla yellow; calyx ca. as long as to longer than corolla tube  

Key 7

+ Corolla pink to violet; calyx shorter than corolla tube.   (9)
9 (8) Capsule opening by a lid  

Key 8

+ Capsule opening by short teeth or crumbling irregularly.   (10)
10 (9) Plants often farinose; calyx campanulate, lobes herbaceous, not conspicuously veined  

Key 9

+ Plants efarinose; calyx narrowly campanulate to cylindric, lobes subleathery, with distinct vertical veins  

Key 10

11 (5) Leaves scabrous, short appressed pubescent, distinctly petiolate  

Key 11

+ Leaves glabrous, if scabrous-puberulous, then not distinctly petiolate.   (12)
12 (11) Plants with a long bulblike stock formed by overlapping petioles or fleshy basal bud scales  

Key 12

+ Plants without long overlapping or bulblike stock.   (13)
13 (12) Corolla campanulate, lobes erect, in line with tube  

Key 13

+ Corolla infundibular, lobes usually spreading.   (14)
14 (13) Leaf blades cordate or rounded at base, long petiolate  

Key 14

+ Some leaf blades attenuate at base.   (15)
15 (14) Corolla lobes entire  

Key 15

+ Corolla lobes dentate, emarginate, or 2-lobate.   (16)
16 (15) Capsule suboblong, or if globose, then plants less than 3 cm tall; involucral bracts swollen or saccate at base  

Key 18

+ Capsule globose or ovoid-oblong, involucral bracts not swollen or saccate at base.   (17)
17 (16) Scapes with 1 umbel of flowers, capsule submembranous, crumbling at maturity  

Key 16

+ Scapes with (1 or)2 to many umbels of flowers, capsule leathery, opening by short teeth  

Key 17

List of Keys

  • List of lower taxa


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