Primulina atropurpurea

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  • Photographer: Ron Myhr
  • Grown by: Ron Myhr

Images copyright by the individual photographers or their institutions.

This attractive species grows on limestone hills in the province of Guangxi in south central China.  There are currently two collections; one with dark leaves, like the image shown above and another with lighter leaf coloration. The lighter coloration is seldom seen in cultivation.

P. atropurpurea can be an outstandingly attractive plant in cultivation. Flowers are typically produced in a substantial flush when grown well, and the small plant (seldom more than 20cm across) can produce upwards of 15 large flowers at a time. The dark glossy and leathery foliage is also attractive, and the tight rosettes the species produces are very interesting.

The species has an interesting flowering habit, not unlike other species such as P. subrhomboidea. At some point in the growing season, usually in the fall in natural conditions but more variably in cultivation indoors, tiny buds are formed on very short stalks in the leaf axils. These can stay in place, unchanged, for months. At some point (perhaps increasing daylength in natural conditions) these start to elongate and quite quickly develop into substantial flower stalks often with many flowers. It is unclear what triggers this cycle in plants grown in relatively unchanging circumstances indoors.

Additional photos can be seen in a slideshow by clicking one of the links below: