Primula denticulata (drumstick primula)
Primula denticulata Sm.
drumstick primula, tooth-leaved primula, purple Nepal cowslip
Not Evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Open, wet places.
Many species of Primula, including P. denticulata, contain primin and other quinoid compounds which are contact allergens.
About this species
Most of the primulas from China and the Himalaya now in cultivation were introduced in the 20th century, but a few found their way into European gardens in the 19th century, particularly species from the western and central Himalaya. Early collectors in this area included Joseph Hooker, Nathaniel Wallich and John Forbes Royle, who introduced seed of the drumstick primula, Primula denticulata.
James Edward Smith, a friend of Sir Joseph Banks and founder of the Linnean Society, described P. denticulata in the second volume of Exotic Botany, from a drawing made in India. Smith reports that this species was collected by Dr Francis Buchanan, ‘in moist parts of the hills about Chitlong’, in Nepal, where they flowered from February to April. It was some years later that seed of P. denticulata reached Britain, and was introduced into cultivation in 1842 by Messrs Veitch, who ran one of the largest plant nurseries in Europe.
The drumstick primula is the most common Himalayan Primula and by far the most widely cultivated of the species of primula grouped in section Denticulata.