This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Perennial scapose herbs, with basal leaves, and small or large white red purple or yellow dimorphous flowers, umbellate, or in involucrate or bracted racemose whorls at the summit of a scape. Calyx tubular, funnelform or campanulate, persistent, often angled, 5-lobed, the lobes imbricated, erect or spreading. Corolla funnelform or salverform, the tube longer than the calyx in our species, the limb 5-cleft, the lobes imbricated, entire, emarginate or 2-cleft. Stamens 5, inserted on the tube or at the throat of the corolla, included; filaments very short; anthers oblong, obtuse. Ovary superior, globose or ovoid; ovules numerous, amphitropous; style filiform; stigma capitate. Capsule oblong, ovoid or globose, 5-valved at the summit, many-seeded. Seeds peltate, the testa punctate. [Diminutive of the Latin primus, first, from the early blossoms.]
About 150 species, mostly of the northern hemisphere, a few in Java and at the Straits of Magellan. Besides the following, some 18 others occur in western and northwestern North America. Type species: Primula veris L.
Leaves almost always mealy beneath; scape 4'-18' high.
Leaves green both sides; scape 1'-6' high.
Leaves spatulate or obovate, denticulate.
2. P. mistassinica.
Leaves oval or lance-ovate, entire.
3. P. egaliksensis.
Primula farinosa L. Sp. Pl. 143. I753.
Leaves spatulate to obovate or oblong, obtuse at the apex, narrowed or somewhat cuneate at the base, tapering into petioles, or sessile, usually white-or yellow-mealy beneath at least when young, green above, 1'-4' long, 2"-6" wide, the margins crenulate-denticulate; scape 4'-18' high, 3-20-flowered; flowers umbellate; bracts of the involucre acute or acuminate; pedicels 2"-2' long; calyx-lobes acute, often mealy; corolla pink or lilac, usually with a yellowish eye, the tube slightly longer than the calyx, the lobes cuneate, retuse or obcordate, 2"-3" long; capsule narrowly oblong, erect, 2i"-6" long, longer than the calyx.
Cliffs and shores, Maine and Quebec to Greenland, west to Michigan and Minnesota. Consists of several races. Also in Europe and Asia. Summer.
Primula mistassinica Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 1: 124. 1803.
Similar to the preceding species, but smaller; scape very slender, 1'-6' high. Leaves spatulate to rhombic-ovate or obovate, green on both sides (rarely slightly mealy beneath), denticulate or repand, obtuse at the apex, narrowed or cuneate at the base, petioled or sessile, 1/2'-1 1/2' long, 1 1/2'-5" wide; flowers 2-8, umbellate; bracts of the involucre acute or acuminate; pedicels 2"-12" long; corolla pink, or pale purple, with or without a yellow eye, the tube distinctly longer than the calyx; corolla-lobes obcordate, 1 1/2"-2 1/2" long; capsule narrowly oblong, erect, 2V-4" high.
On wet banks, Maine to Newfoundland, central New York, Michigan and Saskatchewan. Summer.
Primula egaliksensis Hornem. Fl. Dan. pl. 1511. 1814.
Leaves green both sides, oval or lance-ovate, entire, or slightly undulate, obtuse or obtusish at the apex, 1/2'-1' long, narrowed into petioles of about their own length; scape very slender, 2'-6' high; umbels 2-6-flowered; bracts of the involucre lanceolate, acuminate; pedicels short, elongating in fruit; calyx-teeth short, acute; corolla-lobes 1"-2" long, much shorter than the tube, obovate, sometimes cleft to the middle; capsule erect, about 3" high, longer than the calyx.
Northern Labrador (Turner, according to A. Gray) and Greenland. Summer.
Several other boreal species have been described, but they are not definitely known within our range.