Chinese primrose rediscovered

May 5, 2011
Primula mallophylla Credit: Dr. WU Zhi-Kun, Kunming Institute of Botany

A botanist at one of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partners, the Kunming Institute of Botany, has rediscovered two populations of a primrose which was thought to be extinct in the wild.

During a recent botanical expedition to the Dabashan mountains in northern Chongqing, Dr WU Zhi-Kun from the Chinese partner, the Kunming Institute of Botany, , re-discovered two populations of a primrose with attractive purple flowers which was thought to be extinct in the wild.

Dr WU identified the plant as Primula mallophylla Balf. f.. It is a narrow endemic perennial species, occurring only in the Dabashan mountains in Chongqing where it grows in wet meadows and shaded, wet areas in forests above 2,100 m above sea level. The species had been first described scientifically in 1916 and since then not seen. In the Chinese Species Red List, this species had been assessed as extinct in the wild (EX). After the re-discovery, it was reassessed as Endangered (EN).

Seeds of the species were collected and sent to the Germplasm Bank of Wild at the Kunming Institute of Botany, where they are now safely stored for long term conservation. Individuals of this plant are also grown in Lijiang Alpine Botanical Garden and in the Botanic Garden of Kunming Institute of Botany.

Because of its attractive flowers, Primula mallophylla has great potential as a garden plant.

Explore further: South China tigers may be extinct

Related Stories

UK botanists bank 10% of world's plant species

October 15, 2009

Botanists at Britain's Kew Gardens have collected seeds from 10 percent of the world's wild plants, their first goal in a long-term project to protect all endangered species, they said Thursday.

8 new species discovered in Boliva national parks

November 4, 2010

Botanists at the Missouri Botanical Garden have described eight new plant species collected in the Madidi National Park and surrounding areas located on the eastern slopes of the Andes in northern Bolivia. The new species ...

Recommended for you

'Hog-nosed rat' discovered in Indonesia

October 6, 2015

Museum of Natural Science Curator of Mammals Jake Esselstyn at Louisiana State University and his international collaborators have discovered a new genus and species on a remote, mountainous island in Indonesia. This new ...

Stress in adolescence prepares rats for future challenges

October 5, 2015

Rats exposed to frequent physical, social, and predatory stress during adolescence solved problems and foraged more efficiently under high-threat conditions in adulthood compared with rats that developed without stress, according ...

Most EU nations seek to bar GM crops

October 4, 2015

Nineteen of the 28 EU member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday, the deadline for opting out of new European legislation on GM ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.