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The Parry Primrose

Also called Parry’s Primrose

  Carl Linnaeus named this genus in 1753; “Primula” is from the Latin for “early spring”. In 1862 Asa Gray named the species for Charles Parry, famed collector of western plants, who collected this plant in 1861 on the “head-waters of Clear Creek, and the alpine ridges lying east of ‘Middle Park’ [Colorado]”. (Quotation from Intermountain Flora.) 


 If, high in the mountains, not long after the snow has melted, a startling magenta arrests your eye, you have been caught by Parry’s Primrose.  Its color is intensified by the contrast with its own bright green leaves. But Parry’s beauty does have its limits; just lightly touching the plant will bring out a most unpleasant fetid odor sometimes described as Skunk or ever spoiled meat.

Parry’s Primrose loves to have wet roots so it is found on waterfall ledges, snow-melt areas, stream sides, and other wet areas.  It is often scattered in the extensive wetland patches of white flowering Marsh Marigolds which you can see are sharing in the glory in this photo. There are some wet spots, like nearing the top of Black Bear Pass, that just glow with the glory of this Flower!

See Ya in the Hills!


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