Primula denticulata ?

Primula denticulata ?; 

 
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Primula for ID ABNOV2016/01 : 12 posts by 4 authors. 8 images.
I saw these just below Triund on my walk a couple of weeks back. They look closer to P. denticulata but it's odd that they are flowering in late autumn. Also the spike bearing flowers was sort (almost absent in some) and the flowers very few in number. There were at least six different plants in flower near each other.
Please advise.  
Primula sp.
Triund, Above Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, HP
2900m approx.
25 October 2016
This is Primula atrodentata.
Sorry, ... but this does not appear to be Primula atrodentata, according to my understanding of what this species is - accepted I cannot say I am that familiar with it.
IF the albeit brief description in 'Flowers of the Himalaya' is correct, what about the dense white or yellow farina which is meant to be on the undersides of the leaf?
The foliage of ... plant does not match that of those you have named as P.atrodentata on Marijn van den Brink's Khumbu, Nepal site (I have only come across just now - I spent some time naming, as best I could, his images taken in Baltistan where there are wonderful shots of scenery and flowers, see: http://photos.v-d-brink.eu/Flora-and-Fauna/Asia/Pakistan-new/i-CBvDtHK)
Next, what about the geographic and altitudinal ranges of this species - accepted that these are not set in stone?  But as far as I know, it has not been recorded west of what was Kumaon.
So IF you were correct, it would represent a Westerly extension of its range. As to altitude, it has not been recorded below 3600m, so 2900m is a fair bit lower.
What about habitat?  From what I can recollect, "alpine slopes" and "open peaty turf" fit with my experience of the plant but not where ... found his plants. Flowers of Himalaya give May-June as flowering, though late flowerings do happen - even so. Mind you, high-altitude forms of what we think come within P.denticulata can flower much later.
Then there is overall appearance.  I first saw the species below Dhaulagiri ice-falls in Nepal (though not in flower).  I did publish an image of what I understand to be this plant grown in New Mexico within the Himalayan Plant Association Journal and have another but would need to seek permission to post on eFI, which I shall endeavour to do. There are currently no images of P.atrodentata on the site.
In the mean-time, may I draw members' attention to: LINK which is a photo of P.atrodentata taken by Adam Stainton in Nepal.  I am sure you will agree this does not match ... plant.
Also: http://elmer.rbge.org.uk/bgbase/vherb/bgbasevherb.php?cfg=bgbase/vherb/zoom.cfg&filename=E00024425.zip&queryRow=6 The great thing about the Edinburgh scans is that provided you download at high resolution you can zoom in to see a high level of detail.  Unfortunately, the digitised images from the Kew herbarium are low resolution, so one can usually only make out the 'habit' of a plant. Frustrating!
Overall, I wonder about Primula denticulata.  It seems to vary considerably.  The examples I saw in Bhutan had a different general
appearance to those from Western Himalaya. As you know, Professor Richards has recognised P.cachemirica as a separate species. Perhaps other taxa will be recognised in the coming years. I have images of a number of 'denticulata-like' Primulas I struggle to assign an identification to.  Given its considerable altitudinal and geographic range it would come as no surprise if other taxa were recognised, whether at varietal, subspecies or species level.   At present we are left to try and fit all variants into existing species....
So, please inspect ... images again.

Thank you ... for this information. I think I saw yet another plant at about 2000m. I am planning to hike up soon and will look for more plants.

Thank you for critical comments.
Another thing to be noted here is the date of photograph; it is mentioned as 25th October, almost in the autumn at this elevation!
Primula denticulata or any other similar looking Primula usually do not flower in October. Primulas always have a preformed flower/ inflorescence bud covered in scales and miniature leaves. This miniature form grow rapidly after snowmelt and Primulas come in flowering early in the season. An October flowering is unusual and may be a re-flowering due to dormancy-break. Such flowers/ habits are also misleading as we have seen in the case of Gypsophila cerastioides.
Farina is not visible, though in autumn it usually increases.

Thank you ... I hope to hike up this weekend and check if the plants are still there flowering. I will report the results soon.
Thanks ... for the discussion. I am quite happy to be wrong. I think from what you are saying, you are OK with it being identified as belonging to the Denticulata Section.
I have updated the webpage on Primula World for P. atrodentata – you may have to refresh your web browser if you have been there recently in order to see the changes. The images include those from Marijin who has given me permission to publish his images and also a couple of images at the end which I recently took at a reputable nursery in Scotland. As expected, there is quite a bit of variation.  http://www.primulaworld.com/PWweb/photogallery.htm  I am sorry that some of the links won’t work as RBGE has yet to update their links to correspond with the new website at NHM where some of the references are stored. This won’t happen until the new year.
Primula atrodentata is similar to P. denticulata but “a much smaller plant, evergreen, winter buds and persistent bud scales absent” (Flora of Bhutan). As you would expect it is difficult to distinguish P. atrodentata from small forms of P. denticulata as images, when the basal scales (or absence) are not shown, especially when looking at an individual plant. An indication that the population is consistently small is a help but not necessarily a foolproof indicator. I recently was at the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the attached sheet is the only dwarf P. denticulata that resembles P. atrodentata, but as you can see, the basal scales are very prominent.
Though the Flowers of the Himalaya is a good reference, it isn’t definitive, being necessarily brief. If you consult other references (Smith & Fletcher, Richards, Flora of China, Flora of Bhutan, Genus Primula in India, etc) you will find that the leaves are described as scabrid glandular, sometimes white or yellow farinose underneath but not always so. The herbarium sheet of P. atrodentata at E shows some farina underneath but not copious amounts. http://data.rbge.org.uk/herb/E00024426 . Smith & Fletcher give the altitudinal range as 3000-5300m. I can’t find the habitat information given by ...  I don’t think the later flowering is of consequence as it does look like a dormancy break, as mentioned already. I have three images included on the P. atrodentata webpage which were taken at Rupin Pass. These could be P. denticulata, but I included them under that name as there is no indication of basal scales and the plants are small. There can be no certainty when the images do not show clear evidence!
Yes, Richards listed P. cachmeriana (which was described from cultivated plants) separately in his monograph 13 years ago, but John and I have since discussed that further, with plants before us, and have agreed that unless more evidence can be found in the wild, it probably isn’t distinct. At present, I do list it separately on Primula World, though there is no clear evidence for assigning the images as such.
P. denticulata has been split many times before. Smith & Fletcher give 11 synonyms. Smith & Forrest recognised 8 subspecies.
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Part II

Primula cachemiriana and P.denticulata 
Further to part I. 
May I draw your attention to:  http://www.primulaworld.com/PWweb/photogallery.htm . In my opinion the image taken in the wild at Gulmarg does not fit with Professor Richard's description of P.cachemiriana.
I am reasonably familiar with the Gulmarg area (though not as much as certain Indian members of this google group).
The main 'resort' of Gulmarg is around 2400m or so, including a golf-course (one of the highest in the world).  There is coniferous forest mixed with maples. One can reach Khelanmarg at about 2900-3300m (marg meaning "meadow", although due to over-grazing, not as flower-rich as one might think but impressive nevertheless with displays of species which can tolerate grazing such as Euphorbia wallichii - as shown in a B&W photo recently posted by Professor Singh).
I firstly attach an image of the underside of a leaf of Primula I photographed when walking down from Khelanmarg to Gulmarg.  I presumed this was either P.cachemiriana or P.denticulata?
Above Khelanmarg is Aphawat mountain (at some 3900m or so).
Gulmarg is often used to described the whole area right up to Aphawat.  Beyond is Alpather (known as "Frozen Lake") at 3750m, now "out-of-bounds".
According to Professor Richard's book on Primula what he named as P.cachemiriana originated at 3700m at edges of streams at Gulmarg.
IF the altitude is correct, then it came from near the top of Aphawat, not Gulmarg itself at 2400m or so.
Next are 4 images hastily snapped on a very hot & sunny day during a whistle-stop tour of the University of Kashmir Botanical Garden a few years ago.  I presume this is Primula denticulata and that the specimens were dug up and in the hills/mountains and transported down to Srinagar and replanted but do not know exactly where from?   The most likely is somewhere near Gulmarg. 
In 1985 during a botanical expedition in Kashmir I obtained seed from P.Kohli & Co., Kashmir (Estblished in 1928, with a long- standing export license).  I attach images of plants (unfortunately not in flower) raised from this seed named as Primula 'cachemirica' by Kohli.
Kohli also supplied Primula denticulata. As to the sources, I believe the former came from above Gulmarg, perhaps above Khelanmarg @ 3500m, which would fit with Richard's location @ 3700m. As to the P.denticulata, this may have originated in Kailash Himalaya.
Perhaps both 'typical' P.denticulata and P.cachemiriana are found in the Gulmarg area - perhaps the latter at higher elevations?
According to 'Plants of Gulmarg (Kashmir)', A.R.Naqshi, G.Singh & K.K.Koul (1984) Primula denticulata is found from Farozpur to Khillenmarg - common.   They do not mention var. cachemiriana recognised by 'Flora of British India'.
Stewart (Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Pakistan & Kashmir) only mentions Primula denticulata, which he describes as probably our commonest species from 1800-3600m (occasionally up to 4200m).  It is interesting that the location mentioned by Richards is at the upper limit of the plants normal range in Kashmir.
I would say the Primula at Kashmir University Botanical Garden look similar to the Primula photographed at Gulmarg.  The Profile of Kashmir University Botanical Garden says nothing as to the origin of these plants though describe it as a "high-altitude" plant of ornamental potential.  It is not a 'high-altitude' plant and in the West has been widely cultivated probably for more than a century.
As to its ornamental potential in India, much depends on how well it copes with conditions at lower elevations. As it already grows wild at what were some of the old hill-stations, I don't expect there would be much interest in such places. Presumably it could not survive on the plians of India....
Coventry in 'Wild Flowers of Kashmir' (1923) was not aware of var. cachemiriana (or perhaps did not cover it).  He says the lower surface of leaves was sparingly covered with a yellow powder. He said elevations of 2100-3600m, abundant at Gulmarg.
Collet in 'Flora Simlensis' does not mention meal on the undersides of the leaves of P.denticulata which was common on Jako, Shimla - though I would not view this as conclusive that some specimens in the region did not exhibit meal underneath.
Ludlow in 'The Primulas of Kashmir' (1951) only mentions P.denticulata.
Nasir in 'Primulaceae' (Flora of Pakistan) only refers to P.denticulata with P.cachemeriana Munro as a synonym.
Hooker, 'Flora of British India' described two varieties: var. cachemiriana - leaves produced almost with the flowers, more mealy from the W.Himalaya and var. paucifolia.
Remiss of both Ludlow & Nasir not to refer to Hooker's FBI, even if they did not recognise the 'variety' themselves.
But Prem Nath Kohli was aware of this variety and the two images below (ref: K29) showing plants raised from their seed clearly show a form with pronounced meal and recurved margins to leaves, which fit with Richard's description of P.cachemiriana.
Clearly, K29 looks markedly different to the plants grown as P.denticulata at Kashmir University Botanical Garden and the photo taken at Gulmarg on your web-site as P.cachemiriana.
They also look markedly different to foliage of what I understand to be P.denticulata photographed in the Kulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh (see final 2 images attached). 
This additional evidence appears to support recognition of a separate taxon but it is for others to decide if it is a species, subspecies or varietal level.
Primula denticulata
I consider this species needs further investigation given is wide geographic and altitudinal range. Without examining closely, the forms I saw in Bhutan, appear to differ to those from the W.Himalaya.
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