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Primula bulleyana is a striking herbaceous plant, discovered by the Scottish plant hunter George Forrest (1873-1932) in Yunnan, China, in 1906 and named after his first sponsor, Arthur K. Bulley. Bulley was a Liverpool cotton broker and keen amateur gardener who founded the Bees Ltd. nursery and was responsible for the introduction of many alpines and hardy plants to Britain, employing men such as Forrest to collect them from the temperate regions of the Far East. After his death, Bulley's garden (now the Ness Botanic Gardens) was bequeathed by his daughter to the University of Liverpool.

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Primula bulleyana is a candelabra primula from China with rich golden yellow-orange flowers.

Primula bulleyana is a striking herbaceous plant, discovered by the Scottish plant hunter George Forrest (1873-1932) in Yunnan, China, in 1906 and named after his first sponsor, Arthur K. Bulley. Bulley was a Liverpool cotton broker and keen amateur gardener who founded the Bees Ltd. nursery and was responsible for the introduction of many alpines and hardy plants to Britain, employing men such as Forrest to collect them from the temperate regions of the Far East. After his death, Bulley's garden (now the Ness Botanic Gardens) was bequeathed by his daughter to the University of Liverpool.

Bulley's primula is one of a group known as candelabra primulas, so-called because of the tiered arrangement of their flowers, similar in appearance to a candelabrum.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to China (northwest Yunnan and southern Sichuan) where it grows in marshy alpine meadows and on the banks of streams.

In his journal of 1906, George Forrest noted, regarding the damp mountain meadows of the Li-chiang Snow Range in western China, 'Where marshy openings occurred, the turf was gaudy with the blooms of a multitude of herbaceous plants, [and] I saw miles, really, of Primula Bulleyana [sic] ...'

Description

Primula bulleyana has an erect flowering stem measuring up to 70 cm and bears 5-7 whorls of flowers at intervals up the stem. The flowers are red when in bud, becoming a rich golden yellow-orange on opening in early summer. The leaves are green, ovate-lanceolate, rounded at the apex and tapering at the base. The fruit is a capsule with numerous dark seeds.

Threats and conservation

Samples of Primula bulleyana seeds have been stored in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank as an ex situ conservation measure.

Uses

Primula bulleyana is a popular ornamental. It is a robust primula, suitable for growing in wet ground and by streams.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault. 

Number of collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank : One Seed storage behaviour : Orthodox (the seeds of this plant survive being dried without significantly reducing their viability, and are therefore amenable to long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB) Germination testing : 100 % germination was achieved on a germination medium of 1% agar, at a temperature of 21°C, and a cycle of 12 hours daylight/12 hours darkness

Cultivation

Primula bulleyana does well in boggy, peaty soil and on the banks of ponds and streams, providing a splash of colour from June to July. It is easily grown from seed (and often self-seeds freely) and is usually very tolerant of low temperatures. Many of the candelabra species cross freely, giving flower colours of many hues and look very attractive when planted in large drifts.

Where to see this at Kew

Primula bulleyana can be seen in the Duke's Garden, around the Waterlily Pond and in the Rock Garden at Kew, and in the Water Garden at Wakehurst.

Kew at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011

 

In 2011, Kew partnered with The Times to produce a show garden to showcase the significance of plants to science and society.

The garden, designed by Chelsea gold medallist Marcus Barnett, featured species chosen to demonstrate both beauty and utility, including medicinal, commercial, and industrial uses to underline the fact that plants are invaluable to our everyday lives - without them, none of us could live on this planet; they produce our food, clothing and the air that we breathe.

Primula bulleyana was one of the species that featured in the garden, which was awarded a Silver Medal.

Distribution
China
Ecology
Marshy alpine meadows and stream banks.
Conservation
Not considered to be at risk in the wild.
Hazards

Avoided by grazing animals, but no known hazards for humans.

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[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Native to:

China South-Central

English
Bulley's primula

Primula bulleyana Forrest appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Forrest, G. [2440], Yunnan K000732873

First published in Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 4: 231 (1908)

Accepted by

  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (1996). Flora of China 15: 1-387. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • The Plant List, Version 1 (2010). Primula bulleyana. (Accessed 26 January 2011).
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. (2008) Seed Information Database (SID). Version 7.1. (Accessed 26 January 2011).
  • Cullen, J. et al. (eds) (1997). The European Garden Flora, Volume V. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Phillips, R. & Rix, M. (1991). Perennials, Volume 1. Pan Books Ltd, London.
  • Cowan, J.M. (ed.) (1952). Th e Journeys and Introductions of George Forrest VMH. University Press for the Royal Horticultural Society, Oxford.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (1996). Flora of China 15: 1-387. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0