Primula is the largest genus of the primrose family (Primulaceae). Up to now more than 300 Primula species have been recorded in China. The key characters of Primula are its comparatively stout rhizomes, cup-shaped calyxes and globose and valved capsules.
During systematic botanical research in Cangyuan County, Yunnan Province, southwestern China, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) found an unknown species of Primula. After careful morphological studies and literature review, the researchers confirmed it as new to science.
The new species was named as Primula longistyla, referring to its long style, usually exceeding the corolla, and published in Nordic Journal of Botany.
Primula longistyla is a perennial herb. It is morphologically similar to Primula densa, but clearly different by its larger and densely villous leaves, homostylous flowers, longer and densely villous calyxes, exannulate and villous corollas, longer corolla tube, larger limb and longer styles.
The new species is currently only known from Sigangli Cave, Menglai Township, Cangyuan County, Yunnan Province, China, growing on the stone wall of the karst cave at about 1180 m above sea level.
The researchers surveyed the type locality four times between 2019 and 2021 found only one population of Primula longistyla and less than 100 individuals. The habitat is inevitably damaged by human disturbance because it is a famous tourist destination. The researchers assessed the conservation status of the new species as Critically Endangered (CR), according to the criteria of the IUCN.
Department of Gardening and Horticulture, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
Flowering Primula longistyla. (Image by SHEN Jianyong)
Habitat of Primula longistyla. (Image by SHEN Jianyong)