9th March 2015

Primroses are really coming out more in the wild now. Look carefully at these beautiful flowers and you’ll find two distinct centres, noticed by Darwin. Some primrose-tots have a visible stigma and are called pin-eyed, some a visible, tightly packed group of pollen-bearing anthers. In fact, the pin-eyed have anthers half-way down the flower tube, out of sight,  

Thrum-eyed Primroses have visible cluster of pollen-bearing anthers at their centre.

Thrum-eyed Primroses have visible cluster of pollen-bearing anthers at their centre.

Pin-eyed Primroses have a visible pin-shaped stigma at their centre

Pin-eyed Primroses have a visible pin-shaped stigma at their centre

Close-up of a pin-eyed Primrose plant

Close-up of a pin-eyed Primrose plant

and the thrum-eyed have their stigma half-way down too. The nectar is in the base and only long-tongued insects like butterflies can reach it. To ensure cross-pollination, insects probing for nectar will pick up pollen, and deposit it on the stigma from the thrum-eyed at the top of the tube, and the pin-eyed half way down. Very neat! You could try eating the primroses, or just enjoy looking at and smelling their beautiful pale flowers! Conditions: Sun giving way to rain. Temperature: Max 11- Min 4c

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