E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Primula mistassinica Michx.
Mistassini primrose
Primulaceae

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #70619)

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Distribution of Primula mistassinica
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Species Information

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General:
Fibrous-rooted, scapose, perennial herbs.
Stems:
Scapes glabrous or sometimes yellowish-mealy when young, 5-20 cm tall.
Leaves:
Leaves not succulent, oblanceolate to spade-shaped, apices acute to obtuse, bases gradually tapering to narrowly winged petiole, margins wavy to shallowly toothed (sometimes entire), sometimes revolute, glabrous, 0.5-7 cm.
Flowers:
. Inflorescences of 1-5 (10) flowers; involucral bracts lanceolate, flat, 2-6 mm. Flowers heterostylous; corollas pink to lavender (rarely white) with yellow throat, lobes moderately cleft, 8-14 mm across; calyces green, the lobes equalling or longer than the tube, glandular, 3-5 mm; pedicels slender, flexuous to erect, 5-20 mm. Flowering May-Jun.
Fruits:
Capsules cylindrical to ellipsoid, equalling or slightly exceeding the calyx; seeds lacking flanged edges.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Habitat / Range

Moist calcareous meadows, cliffs, streambanks, and shorelines in the montane zone. Rare in n BC, infrequent in se BC (Rocky Mts., Rocky Mtn. Trench); AK east to NU, NF, south to BC, AB, IO, NY.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Additional Notes

This species is closely associated with highly calcareous substrates throughout its range. It is best distinguished from the similar P. egaliksensis by its larger heterostylous (vs. homostylous) flowers, more broadly winged petioles (leaves less distinctly stalked than P. egaliksensis), and usually more conspicuously toothed or wavy-margined leaves. See P. egaliksensis for a cautionary note on the use of leaf shape as a means of distinguishing these two species.

Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Family Information

Primulaceae:

Annual, biennial, or perennial forbs; scapose; from fibrous roots, short rhizome, or branched caudex, occasionally mat-forming or cespitose. Scapes ascending to erect, solitary or several per plant, unbranched. Leaves all basal, often rosulate, simple, unlobed, entire to toothed, subsessile to stalked, glabrous to pubescent, sometime glandular. Inflorescence a terminal, bracteate umbel, or flowers solitary. Flowers radially symmetric, 5-merous, bisexual, stalked; corolla campanulate or tubular to salviform, lobes sometimes sharply reflexed, usually whitish or pinkish to deep magenta, 4- to 5-lobed; calyces 4- to 5-lobed; stamens 5; filaments distinct or partially connate; ovary superior; style 1. Fruits 5-chambered dehiscent capsules, valvate to circumcissile. Genera 20, species ca. 600 (4 genera, 15 spp. in B.C.). Widespread in arctic, temperate, and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere; disjunct in equatorial regions (e.g., e Africa, Indonesia) and in the southern hemisphere (e.g., s South America).

Non-scapose genera that were formerly included in Primulaceae ( Anagallis, Glaux, Lysimachia, Trientalis) have now been moved to Myrsinaceae (Källersjö et al. 2000, Trift et al. 2002, Cholewa and Kelso 2009). Many species in this family have a pronounced association with calcareous environments and are subsequently rather locally distributed within the province. Primulaceae contains a number of very showy species, and several genera have become important ornamentals in the horticultural trade (e.g., Primula, Dodecatheon).

Key to the Genera of Primulaceae

1a. Corolla lobes >2 times as long as the tube, sharply reflexed; stamens far exserted; filaments often at least partially connate (distinct in some species) .........................................................................Dodecatheon

1b. Corolla lobes less than twice as long as the tube, not reflexed; stamens included; filaments never connate…………………….........................2

2a. Calyces keeled (at least on the tube); plants densely cespitose (cushion-like) or mat-forming perennials with clusters of leaves at the bases of the scapes (rarely taprooted biennials), corollas rose-pink (fading to lavender, rarely to whitish).…...............................................Douglasia

2b. Calyces not keeled or only weakly keeled in fruit; plants taprooted annuals or perennials from fibrous roots or short rhizomes, or if mat-forming perennials (i.e., Androsace chamaejasme), then corollas white or pink-tinged with a yellow or pink throat..……………………….……………………………………………………………………………………...................................3

3a. Corollas constricted at the throat, magenta to lavender (rarely white), usually >7 mm across; plants never densely grey-hairy… ………………………………………………………...…………………………………………………..................................................Primula

3b. Corollas not constricted at the throat, white (sometimes fading pinkish in A. chamaejasme), usually <5 mm across (if >5 mm, then plants densely grey-hairy)…….……….......................................................……Androsace


Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Genus Information

Fibrous-rooted, scapose, perennial herbs. Scapes ascending to erect, unbranched. Leaves all basal, in a single rosette, petioles absent or obscure. Inflorescence a terminal, usually bracteate umbel of 2-25 flowers (flowers sometimes solitary). Flowers pink to violet (rarely white), usually with yellow centre; corollas salverform, constricted at the throat, 5-lobed, the lobes shallowly to deeply cleft; calyces campanulate to cylindrical, usually unkeeled (sometimes weakly keeled in fruit), 5-lobed; stamens included; homostylous or distylous. Capsules globose to cylindrical, 5-valvate. About 500 spp. (4 spp. in B.C.); widespread throughout Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas, especially in arctic, alpine, and boreal environments.

Primula is a large genus that is most diverse in the Old World, with relatively few representatives in the Americas. Flowers of some species of Primula exhibit heterostyly (Kelso 2009c), in which two different morphs occur within the species that have different relative style lengths and other associated floral characters, and the existence of heterostyly within a species can sometime be an important taxonomic character. In heterostylous species, the thrum morph has a short style, stamens located high in the corolla tube, and larger pollen grains, while the pin morph has a long style, stamens located high in the corolla tube, and smaller pollen grains; these morphs are only able to pollinate or receive pollination from the opposite morph, and are incapable of either self-pollination or pollination by the same morph. Species in this genus are often very similar, and misidentifications of specimens (especially herbarium material) are common, particularly for arctic-alpine species. Vegetative plasticity in response to the time of year or local environmental conditions further complicates identification, with individuals or populations often variable in size, flower number, and degree of waxy or mealy coating on the scapes and leaves. Several Primula species (P. nutans Georgi [SIBERIAN PRIMROSE]; P. stricta Hornem. [ERECT PRIMROSE]) have been attributed to B.C. in the past based on such misidentified material; see Excluded Species for additional information. This is an important genus in horticulture and many species are grown commercially; horticultural species may occasionally escape cultivation in southwest BC (e.g., P. veris L. [ENGLISH COWSLIP]), but none have become established.


Source: The Vascular Flora of British Columbia, draft 2014.
Author: Jamie Fenneman

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Primula mistassinica

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 1210 1486 1990
Slope Gradient (%) 0 21 65
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
225 225 225
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 3 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
3
Modal BEC Zone Class
ESSF
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: ESSF(1)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Primula intercedens Fernald
Primula maccalliana
Primula mistassinica var. intercedens (Fernald) B. Boivin
Primula mistassinica var. noveboracensis Fernald

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References