Arctic Primrose – Primula eximia

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Nome Creek – White Mountain National Recreation Area

Arctic Primrose

Primula eximia (Ledeb.)

Synonyms:
Primula pumela (Ledab.)
Primula tschuktschorum
*Note on nomenclature below

Genus: Primula
Family: Primulaceae
Order: Ericales

Duration: Perennial
Range: Alaska, northern Canada, Siberia
Uses: No known uses, unknown if edible – but, some primrose flowers and leaves are known to be edible

Identification

The Arctic primrose tends to live in very wet soil and stream beds. It grows to be about 10-12 cm tall. It typically has 5 lobed pink or purple-pink petals and has many flowers on a single stalk. The flowers are trumpet-like with the lobed petals opening outward. A white ring encloses the stamen typically not protruding beyond the corolla tube. Most of the petals have small notches in the center, unlike the similar-looking, rarer Chukchi primrose that is not notched. Leaves are basal, narrow, and slightly toothed and waxy.

The more rare subspecies, Chukchi primrose has fewer flowers without notches and narrower leaves with a powdery farina.

*Note – ITIS accepted nomenclature is Primula pumela. USDA lists Primula eximia, not primula pumela. Both list Primula tschuktschorum (Chukchi primrose) as a synonym/subspecies.

Arctic Primrose Gallery

References

Primula pumela, ITIS Report
Primula eximia, USDA
Stewart River Training Area Rare Plant Survey 2006, Alaska Natural Heritage Program

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