Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Primula vulgaris and P. veris (Primrose and Cowslip)



Primula vulgaris (Primrose)


Primrose - Primula vulgaris 
Photo: taken on 27th March 2019 - Dalton Crags

Just noticing today (28th January 2020) that the Primrose leaves are just starting to come through and it wont be long before we have the beautiful flowers all around our limestone habitats (late March).  We do have little colonies throughout Dalton Crags, Lancelot, Burton and also over on the Stints, and on the Hutton Roof common.


Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken today 28th January 2020 - Dalton Crags
Already showing new sprouting leaves coming through.

But last year I was having a walk over on the Hutton Roof village side and stumbled upon a area which had so many it became almost impossible to walk without standing on them, it was the most amazing sight and a lovely game of "hopscotch". Fortunately I did manage to take a few photos so I can give you some idea of what it was like (Photos can be seen below). 

I noticed that quite a large section were in an area which before long would be well overgrown with plenty of bracken ferns shading out the last remnants of the primula, and I did wonder if perhaps the bracken in turn was helping the primula, giving it plenty of warmth at the lower levels (I guess a sort of micro climate which would give the root system plenty of warmth especially during the Winter months).  I had known about the Primrose and later the Cowslips having already visited the area in most years together from my notes from previous years, although I don't ever recall the plants being so prolific as they were in 2019! I must (and I will God permitting) try and get across there again this year, just to see if it was just a ordinary annual yield (which somehow I doubt!) or was it a special every so often yield!

There was a special reason for me being there last March and that was to try and evaluate the status of the primula, because the year before I was asked to try and help with the surveying of the plant both on Dalton Crags and Lancelot Clark Storth (Cumbria Wildlife Trust) and Hutton Roof in general. The reason was for me to pass on any information of my sightings to a lady working at the University of Cumbria. She and others were working on finding suitable areas that could possibly sustain reintroductions of the fabulous small butterfly the Duke of Burgundy. If something did ever come of that information then that would be great so I took the photos and submitted them to the butterfly people in question for their considerations and deliberations. I have as yet not heard anything further, it would be nice to find out!!

Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof did have good populations of the Duke of Burgundy butterflies during the prior to and including the 1950s, although they did hang on until about the 1980's before their sudden demise, but are now thought to be extinct within the area. Well the area I show the photos might just be the ideal place.....


 Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof
You can see from this photo you would struggle to walk in between the plants they are so compact at this particular area. 

 Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof
You can see from this photo you would struggle to walk in between the plants they are so compact at this particular area. 

 Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof
You can see from this photo you would struggle to walk in between the plants they are so compact at this particular area. 

 Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof
You can see from this photo you would struggle to walk in between the plants they are so compact at this particular area. 

 Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof
You can see from this photo you would struggle to walk in between the plants they are so compact at this particular area. 
 Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof
You can see from this photo you would struggle to walk in between the plants they are so compact at this particular area. 

 Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof
You can see from this photo you would struggle to walk in between the plants they are so compact at this particular area. 

Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Photo: taken on 13th May 2019 - Hutton Roof


Primula veris (Cowslip)


Cowslip (Primula veris)
taken on 29th April 2018 on Hutton Roof

Over the years I have seen lots of primula variants, but probably none like this one. I found this on the main woodland track within Lancelot Clark Storth (Cumbria Wildlife Trust) and I could not at first believe my eyes.  Seeing a double version of the lower leaf structure being created at the top (flowering section) of the plant.  Leaves in the position where you would expect petals!!!  I checked it out the following year (2019) but I could not even find a plant.

 Cowslip (Primula veris) 
Photo: taken on 18th May 2018 in Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)

 Cowslip (Primula veris) 
Photo: taken on 18th May 2018 in Lancelot Clark Storth (CWT)