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Primula parryi

Primula parryi

Primula parryi
Primula parryi (Parry’s Primrose)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Alpine, subalpine. Streamsides, wetlands. Summer.
Above: Pass Creek Trail, July 13, 2016 and Road to Spiller/Helmet Ridge, June 19, 2007.
Left: Sharkstooth Trail, July 7, 2004.

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.

Parry’s Primrose loves to have wet roots so it is found on waterfall ledges, snow-melt areas, streamsides, and other wet areas.  It is often scattered in the extensive wetland patches of white flowering Marsh Marigolds.

Primula parryi
Primula parryi (Parry’s Primrose)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Alpine, subalpine. Streamsides, wetlands. Summer.
Sharkstooth Trail, July 7, 2004.

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.)  (More biographical information about Parry).

                       Primula parryi

Primula parryi

Primula parryi (Parry’s Primrose)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Alpine, subalpine. Streamsides, wetlands. Summer.
Ridge above U. S. Basin, July 28, 2016.

One to two inch tall Primula parryi appear in late July at 12,000 feet just at the edge of the last snow banks. Most of these plants will not flower, nor will they survive the winter.

Primula parryi

Primula parryi (Parry’s Primrose)
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Alpine, subalpine. Streamsides, wetlands. Summer.
Placer Gulch, July 21, 2012.

Gone to seed.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Primula parryi