Primula elatior   Oxlip

Primula elatior whole

Having at one time lived in Cambridgeshire very close to that rare botanical treasure, an Oxlip wood, I thought I knew what conditions these plants enjoy. In England they only exist on basic clay with certain level of water table and require dappled shade. We do not see them except in woodlands in the native state.

So this plant I reasoned, living in an open alpine meadow at about 4,000 feet on limestone mountain was in the wrong place and couldn't surely be P. elatior even though it looks exactly like it. Consulting the books on mountain flora I find that in Europe Primula elatior grows at heights of up to 7,200 feet which is nearly 3,000 feet higher than the summit of Ben Nevis out highest British hill. Moreover it is found in woods as I expected but also in open meadows commonly all over Europe. Oh well another notion ruined by plants which just won't read the text books.


En route to summit of Debela peč, Slovenia 5th June 2001

Added on November 12th 2011