Primula farinosa L. - Birds-eye primrose - Mealy primrose
This species occurs in mountain and arctic areas on damp and peaty meadows at an altitude up to 2,700 metres. It is unique among the Italian species of its family. It is characterized by slightly coriacerous leaves, set in a basal rosette, which are white on the lower pagina. Its flowering stems, which can be even 50 cm high in the lowland, are about 20 cm high in the mountains.
Its presence in the lowland a few metres above sea level is unusual and it is due to the habitat rich in water but poor in nutrients , which enables Primula farinosa to compete with stronger lowland plants.
The species characterizes the less damp fens where the ground is generally water logged but flooding is only temporary and, above all in summer, the ground may be even dry. In these areas the species shares the habitat with other ice age relicts such as Pinguicula and Parnassia. This habitat is characterized by poor ground, with a peaty layer of various thicknesses on gravel and sand, which is not suitable to bigger plants. However, the primrose needs light and therefore periodical mowing, otherwise it is eliminated by the biomass of Schoenus and Molinia.
In the Resurgence area the species was very common evenin recent times for the large number of fens, regularly mowed, and its flowering in spring time was the most characterizing aspect of the territory.
G. Bolognini ©